Kentucky judge resigns amid probe on refusal to hear gay adoption cases

Kentucky judge resigns amid probe on refusal to hear gay adoption cases

A Kentucky judge will resign in December after becoming the target of a state ethics probe into his refusal to hear adoption cases involving gay parents, The Washington Post reported.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who presides over family court cases in Barren and Metcalfe counties, drew national attention in April when he issued an order stating that allowing a “practicing homosexual” to adopt children would not be in the child’s best interest and that he would therefore refuse to hear their cases “as a matter of conscience.”

Adoption by same-sex couples is legal in Kentucky.

After Nance issued his original statement, Kentucky’s judicial conduct commission launched an ethics inquiry, saying he violated a rule that requires judges to perform their duties without bias.

ADVERTISEMENT

With his resignation, noted in a letter sent to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), Nance is hoping to have the hearing dismissed and the charges against him dropped.

Chris Hartman, an LGBT advocate who helped file a complaint against Nance, told The Washington Post that Nance “must have seen the writing on the wall,” anticipating that he would be forced from the bench as a result of the charges.

“I hope this sends a message to judges across the country that if their conscience conflicts with their duty, they must leave the bench,” Hartman said.