“Children adoption cases have been a thorny issue in American politics, with religious agencies in various states asking to be allowed to operate by their beliefs and retain the right to refuse placing children into the homes of same-sex couples.”
A Kentucky Family Court judge who earlier this year said he cannot hear adoption cases involving gay or lesbian people, arguing that he is looking after the best interests of children, has been found guilty of misconduct.
The Louisville Courier Journal reported on Tuesday that W. Mitchell Nance, who previously announced his intention to resign on Dec. 16 due to the ethics and misconduct inquiry launched against him, has now been issued a public reprimand by the Judicial Conduct Commission.
The reprimand, passed by a 4–1 vote and made available online, says that the Kentucky code of judicial conduct requires judges to “fairly and impartially decide cases according to the law.”
“Judge Nance’s refusal to hear and decide adoption cases involving homosexuals is violative of said Canons,” it adds, listing out canons that prohibit prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national original, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
Nance explained back in April 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.”
Nance’s attorneys have also said that according to his sincere religious belief, “the divinely created order of nature is that each human being has a male parent and a female parent,” the Herald Leader added.
LGBT activists, such as Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky-based advocacy group the Fairness Campaign, praised the reprimand.
“This should be crystal clear to judges all across Kentucky and the U.S. — if you can’t uphold and respect the law, you have no place on the bench,” Hartman said, according to The Associated Press.