Judge Who Refused To Let Gay Couples Adopt Skips His Own Disciplinary Hearing

Kentucky Judge Mitchell Nance insisted under no circumstance would “the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.”

A Kentucky judge brought up on disciplinary charges for refusing to hear same-sex adoption cases decided to skip his hearing.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance, a family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, was due to appear before the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington on Friday, but was a no-show.

Nance didn’t give a reason for his absence, but announced he was resigning back in October, so it’s possible he wasn’t concerned with the results. (Nance’s resignation takes effect Saturday evening.)

The commission met without Nance, but has not announced a decision yet.

Chris Hartman, the director of the LGBT rights group the Fairness Campaign, told the Herald Leader Nance’s absence was “an insult to the process.”

“It shows how flippantly he feels about this,” Hartman added.

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After he announced in April he would recuse himself from any adoptions involving LGBT people, Nance was charged with failure to uphold standards of conduct, to comply with the law, and to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

He insisted he was simply following an ethics rule stating that a judge must disqualify himself when he has a personal bias or prejudice.

Although Kentucky state law allows gay couples to adopt, Nance wrote that “as a matter of conscience” he believes that under no circumstance would “the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.”

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis similarly ignored the law in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery