GLASGOW, Ky. — A family court judge in Kentucky has recused himself from hearing same-sex adoption cases, citing that ethics codes require recusal if there is a “personal bias or prejudice” on a subject matter.
According to reports, Judge W. Mitchell Nance wrote in a court order on Thursday that as a “a matter of conscience” he believes he needs to recuse himself because “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 told reporters that he has had two same-sex adoption cases come before his court: 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.
“It made the matter come to my awareness more directly, I would say,” Nance told the Glasgow Daily Times. “I felt it would be more prudent to go ahead and address it.”
A judge in the court’s second division will consequently hear any same-sex adoption cases that might have otherwise been assigned to Nance.
Word of Nance’s recusal has drawn both applause and criticism, with some questioning whether Nance should be allowed to serve as a judge at all because of his views on homosexuality.
“What we have is a judge who has made a record of his inability to be a fair and impartial judge for a whole class of citizens who are entitled to have a fair and impartial judge,” Sam Marcosson, law professor at the University of Louisville, told the New York Times. “It raises serious problems about his fitness for office going forward.”
However, the Family Foundation of Kentucky noted that judges on the left often have biases when ruling on cases, and that it is only right to recuse oneself so as to be fair. It said that just as all men, judges shouldn’t be forced to violate their conscience.
“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 with different views to at least recuse themselves from such cases,” spokesman Martin Cothran said in a statement.
“When adoption agencies abandon the idea that it is in the best interest of a child to grow up with both a mother and father, people can’t expect judges who do believe that to be forced to bow the knee,” he stated. “Judges have a right of conscience like everyone else.”
Cothran said that there is no law in Kentucky requiring judges to place children in same-sex homes anyway.
In Deuteronomy 16:18, God commanded his people to appoint judges who would rule justly according to His law.
“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment,” it reads.