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

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A Kentucky judge who refused to hear adoption cases involving gay parents will resign before the end of the year, amid ethics and misconduct charges.

Mitchell Nance told attorneys they should find another judge when filing cases with LGBT families.

In his order, he said that he believes that "the best interest of the child" can never "be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual".

Thursday night The Glasgow Daily Times reported Judge Nance had resigned.

The documents from the Judicial Conduct Commission states that the action constitutes the judge acting on behalf of a personal bias or prejudice. He was charged with violating judicial canons that require judges to maintain high standards of conduct and to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary's impartiality.

Responding to the charges this week, Nance's lawyers confirmed that he would be resigning rather than face punishment.

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Nance submitted a letter of resignation to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin this week, announcing that he will retire on December 16. Multiple groups, including the ACLU and the Fairness Campaign, filed an ethics complaint against him.

"Judge Nance has proven he can not be entrusted with decisions that affect his diverse constituency and their families".

"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.

The judge, citing religious objections, filed an order in April that signaled his unwillingness to handle adoption cases involving gay and lesbian adults.

"Judge Nance's acknowledgement that he is incapable of being fair to certain individuals due to their sexual orientation and on the basis of a demonstrably false stereotype establishes that he is incapable of performing the essential duties of his office", said William Sharp, ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director.

Commonwealth Policy Center Executive Director Richard Nelson said, "The resignation of Judge Nance should sadden Kentuckians as his forthright honesty regarding his moral convictions have cost him his job".

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