Kentucky Judge Facing Ethics Charges for Recusing Self From Same-Sex Adoption Cases Resigns

GLASGOW, Ky. — A Kentucky judge who announced earlier this year that he would recuse himself from hearing any same-sex adoption cases has resigned after the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission decided to charge him with ethics violations over his recusal.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance submitted a letter Thursday to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin advising that he would resign effective Dec. 16. His attorneys therefore state that the charges leveled against him are subsequently moot.

“[S]ame-sex adoptions present a unique crisis of conscience for Judge Nance,” they wrote, and conflict with “his conscientious religious objection to a child’s adoption by a same-sex couple,” according to a response to the charges obtained by the Glasgow Daily Times.

According to reports, the ACLU of Kentucky, Lambda Legal, the Kentucky Fairness Campaign and University of Louisville professor Sam Marcosson submitted the complaint to the commission after Nance outlined in April that as a “a matter of conscience” he believed he needed to recuse himself from any further same-sex adoption cases.

He outlined that as a Christian, “under no circumstance” does he believe that a child’s best interests would be served in family without both a mother and a father.

Nance also asked that attorneys notify him in advance if their case involved such a topic so he could recuse himself.

He told reporters that he has had two same-sex adoption cases come before his court over the past 14 years: For the first, he recused himself, and for the second, he ruled in favor of the parents. After the second situation, he decided to permanently recuse himself from such matters.

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43rd Circuit Judge, John Alexander, agreed to hear any such cases instead of Nance.

However, homosexual advocacy groups soon filed a complaint against Nance, asserting that his request to be recused violated the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct by “eroding public confidence in the judiciary and failing to perform judicial duties impartially and diligently.”

“Judge Nance’s public announcement demonstrates bias and makes clear that he is unable to abide by the Code of Judicial Conduct in any case that may arise where litigants are, or perceived to be, lesbian, gay or bisexual,” the complaint read. “Judge Nance’s refusal to perform his judicial duties in adoption cases featuring lesbian, gay and bisexual litigants is ‘good cause’ for his removal, and no less severe sanction would suffice.”

The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission subsequently decided to charge Nance with a number of ethics violations, including “manifesting by words or conduct a bias or prejudice” against homosexuals.

Nance’s attorneys sought to have the charges dismissed after he resigned, also noting that Nance sincerely believed he was doing what was right, as his recusal “would have facilitated the impartiality of the judicial system and ensured that all families had a fair opportunity for adoption.”

However, the Commission decided to move forward anyway and has scheduled a hearing for Dec. 15, the day before Nance’s resignation date.


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  • Maxwell Edison

    So, basically, what you have here are organizations who wanted this judge to go against his own principles.

  • meamsane

    Resigning isn’t enough!

    This judge has to be punished for his non-conformity with the new government orthodoxy.
    The fruit of unethical government.

    • Lydia Church

      Just the opposite, the government has to be punished for their non-conformity to the new divine orthodoxy. And those who support them as well. But we don’t see that because this is the fruit of unethical government, punishing the righteous and defending the sinners!

      • meamsane

        That’s the hypocrisy of it all. This Commission is attempting to punish and persecute this judge for his ethical stance charging him with “ethics violations” which they (the Commission) lacks and seems clueless of. It is Ironic!

  • Ira Pistos

    Worldwide, Christians are being removed from business and government. Reviled, marginalized, mocked, tortured and murdered.

  • dean29685

    The time is now to punish any group pushing the punishment of any one who resigns for reason of their beliefs.

  • Eldrida Urika

    Excuse me, but I need to clarify something with someone here who would be aware of the law I am referring to.

    When a person recuses themselves it is a personal acknowledgement that they do not feel they can judge without their faith being denied. He left so there would not be a problem, and he should be commended for recusing himself AND for finding another Judge to view those cases in the first place, so he does not have to recuse for any further cases.

    That is what recusing is for. Allowing a judge to step away from any case that they feel conflicted about. That is its PURPOSE.

    So what this is, is forcing a person to go against their faith and charging him for his faith. It has nothing to do with homosexuality being put down or anything else, as a matter of a fact, people should be applauding this judge for not sitting on the bench and allowing himself to judge with his bias. He could have done that instead for goodness sake. Others have so he was doing the
    right thing for asking to be recused.

    Making the public have less confidence in the law is exactly what the judge was trying to avoid by recusing himself. It is ridiculous that this man is being charged for doing the right thing and people are making it wrong.

    This Judge did the exactly the RIGHT thing and used a law that said it was allowed to be done – so what exactly is the problem. He’s Christian? So what, if a Muslim judge did the same thing for the same reasons, would he be wrong too?

    The judge was within the law to do what he did. The ethics charge is backwards in the face of the fact that if he had not recused himself from the bench for those cases and anyone ever noted that he was Christian – well, we all know what would come of that, don’t we?

    People – NO ONE – should be forced – and it would be force if he went against, in this case against his faith. Other times it isn’t about faith, and judges recuse themselves for the same reason – conflict of interest – and it isn’t a reason to charge them, but it is to charge a Christian for standing up for his faith, and as well as that, he was standing up for the way the law is supposed to work without bias on the judges part. I don’t understand how that can be
    against the law. Doing the right thing should never be against the law.

    Faithful people, if they have a way to not offend and not go against the law, will often take that route rather than causing a problem. People do not even know that it happens. We should be able to excuse ourselves for our faith. If we DON’T excuse ourselves then someone complains about it; but when we DO excuse ourselves someone complains about it. It honestly looks in this case that it is about how the faithful believe about gays and trans people and are taking responsibility for that and trying NOT to offend by removing themselves.
    We still have a right to our faith, and by taking himself out of those cases, he was not imposing on anyone except the judge who took those cases himself, and that was done voluntarily.

    They have the right to be offended by our faith, but because of the way our faith – which was around a lot longer than the gay stand for equal rights – believes that their way of life is wrong. They think we’re wrong because we have our faith. He in turn tried NOT to use his faith to judge them by avoiding those kind of situations and get in trouble for that instead.

    This man was in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

    If he didn’t recuse himself he would be found by someone as a bias judge and be charged for that and for NOT recusing himself instead.

    But because he’s following the rules about recusing himself before the conflict comes to be a problem. These ethic charges come strictly from his being a Christian and using his faith as a reason for the conflict of interest. Who cares what reason he is doing it, he’s honest enough to do it so he would not have a conflict of interest. That is what they want judges to do, otherwise
    cases can later be contested.

    How is what he did wrong? Seriously someone who has read my post, help me understand where I am wrong? Or is it strictly by his faith that this man is being charged.

    I’d appreciate being told how I am wrong in this. Blessings!

  • Robin Egg

    His recusal wasn’t enough for those promoting homosexualty. They now want to punish him. They have no fear of God.

  • NCOriolesFan

    So now according to liberals, judicial recusal is now a crime. I always thought recusal was in the best interest for a fair trial.

  • mr goody two shoes

    It would be better for children to have dead parents than homosexual ones. And I and this judge seem to agree on this.

    • Tonya Elise

      REALLY ? i mean Seriously ??? Better to have a CHILD IN A LOVING FAMILY than none at all Even if it is
      same gender couple. After all God: judge not lest ye be judged. God
      is the Only judge you need to worry about. His Judge and mean you life
      or Damnation in Hell. and Yes, WE ALL SIN and live in it. No human that
      has ever lived stopped sinning, maybe not sinned as much. But we are all
      born into sin and you can’t stop that. Same sex couple Can be
      Christians and it is not for you to Judge that… that is God’s job to
      do that not any human’s. And yes, i believe you are going to say i am a
      Liberal I am not completely Liberal or Conservative. I think for myself
      so maybe in the middle.
      I look and try to see through other peoples
      eyes and do not make Snap judgements on someone. I mean their
      lifestyles may not be what i want or how i want to live but not for me
      to judge. I see so many _so-called_ Christian with so much hate.. Hate
      is a Tool of Satan.. Love is God’s Blessing. To whom do you really
      server Now???

  • Lydia Church

    Persecution has landed on American soil.
    Be prepared to stand firm on God’s Word even if it means suffering.
    If you are unable to do this, then you are not worthy to be a disciple of Jesus, because that is what He called us to do! Count the cost!

  • Tonya Elise

    Better to have a CHILD IN A LOVING FAMILY than none at all Even if it is same gender couple. After all God: judge not lest ye be judged. God is the Only judge you need to worry about. His Judge and mean you life or Damnation in Hell. and Yes, WE ALL SIN and live in it. No human that has ever lived stopped sinning, maybe not sinned as much. But we are all born into sin and you can’t stop that. Same sex couple Can be Christians and it is not for you to Judge that… that is God’s job to do that not any human’s. And yes, i believe you are going to say i am a Liberal I am not completely Liberal or Conservative. I think for myself so maybe in the middle.
    I look and try to see through other peoples eyes and do not make Snap judgements on someone. I mean their lifestyles may not be what i want or how i want to live but not for me to judge. I see so many _so-called_ Christian with so much hate.. Hate is a Tool of Satan.. Love is God’s Blessing. To whom do you really server Now???