Kentucky Family Court Judge Refuses To Hear Gay Adoption Cases

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Despite same-sex adoption being legal in all 50 states, a Kentucky family court judge said last week that he won’t hear same-sex adoption cases brought by “practicing homosexual” couples.


The judge, W. Mitchell Nance, said in his order on Thursday that “as a matter of conscience” he will refuse to preside over same-sex adoption proceedings. He believes that “under no circumstance” would “the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.”

Nance defended his decision to the Courier-Journal in an interview. “I stand behind the law I have cited, the matter of conscience I addressed and the decision I have made,” he said.

Questioned by the paper, he said he doesn’t know any same-sex parents and can’t point to research that backs up his views that same-sex parents are dangerous to their children.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right in all 50 states. In light of that ruling, attempts by states to block same-sex adoption began to be overturned. In May last year, Mississippi became the final state to legalize same-sex adoption.

Nance’s refusal to work with same-sex cases comes two years after Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis responded to the SCOTUS decision by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Lawyers will be required to request a special judge if they want to have a same-sex adoption case heard in Barren and Metcalfe Counties, where Nance usually hears cases.