Judge W. Mitchell Nance of the Barren and Metcalfe counties in Kentucky has officially recused himself from any adoption cases that involve gay prospective parents.
According to the Washington Post, Nance issued an order last week in which he wrote that it is his belief that by allowing a “practicing homosexual” to adopt would “under no circumstance” be in the best interest of the child. With this in mind, Nance disqualified himself from hearing any gay adoption cases by citing his personal bias and prejudice.
Thankfully Nance’s court has two divisions overseen by two judges, Nance and Judge John T. Alexander. “I don’t have any plans to recuse myself from any so it should not affect the ability of any same sex couples to adopt in Barren or Metcalfe counties,” Alexander told The Glasgow Times. With this in mind, there shouldn’t be any lag in adoption cases of gay couples in the counties.
This move by Nance has received positive comments from conservative groups and outrage by many others, some of whom are calling for him to stand down. Nance told The Post that he stands by his choice “based on the law, based on my conscience,” and to “minimize any disruption in the litigation.”
Chris Hartman, Kentucky Fairness Campaign director, told the Glasgow Daily Times, “If Judge Nance can’t perform the basic functions of his job, which are to deliver impartiality, fairness and justice to all families in his courtroom, then he shouldn’t be a judge.”
This was echoed by Charles Geyl, an Indiana University law school professor who specializes in judicial ethics: “If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law — not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious — it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath.
Nance has heard two adoption cases involving gay parents. He recused himself from the first case. In the second case, Nance ruled in favor of the same-sex parents, but it was then that he decided he should recuse himself from any future cases.