• The judge says the issue is a "matter of conscience". (OJO Images RF / Getty Images)Source: OJO Images RF / Getty Images
Judge W. Mitchell Nance says he objects to the adoption of a child by a “practicing homosexual”.
Michaela Morgan

2 May 2017 - 11:55 AM  UPDATED 2 May 2017 - 11:55 AM

A Family Court judge in Louisville, Kentucky has announced that he will be recusing himself from hearing any adoption cases that involve gay couples.

The Courier-Journal reports that Judge W. Mitchell Nance has issued an order saying “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".

Nance cited an ethical rule that says judges should disqualify themselves from a case where they have a personal bias but LGBT advocates say he should step down altogether.


“The bottom line is if this judge can’t fulfill his duties because of his duties because of his personal biases, he should resign,” said Dan Canon, a Louisville lawyer who helped to pass same-sex marriage in Kentucky.

“It's obviously better that the judge recuse himself from these cases rather than potentially wreck the lives of children who desperately need loving, adoptive parents.

"But it’s disturbing that this judge would cast aside everything we know about adoptions by same-sex couples to reach the patently false conclusion that such adoptions are not in the best interests of a child,” said Canon.

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However, Nance’s decision has been supported by gay marriage opponents such as Martin Cothran, from the Family Foundation of Kentucky.

“If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality, then in the interest of fairness we are going to have to allow judges whose personal biases and prejudices are different to recuse themselves from such cases,” said Cothran.

Nance’s order has been sent to lawyers in the area, advising them to request a special judge for any adoption cases involving gay couples.