In a world of conflicting views and debatable moral codes, thank goodness we have laws. Thankfully we have the separation of church and state. Otherwise we’d have someone’s uninvited personal beliefs normalizing bias on the communities they serve. Though none of this matters for one Kentucky judge.
Judge W. Mitchell Nance has decided to no longer consider same-sex couples seeking to adopt. The judge, who serves Barren and Metcalf counties, feels that gay couples pose a conflict to the inner voice inside of his head. Choosing to ignore the outer voices of his superiors.
According to the Courier Journal, the judge said that “as a matter of conscience” he “under no circumstance” feels “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual."
Several experts weighed in with the Courier on the judge’s beliefs, concluding that due to his personal beliefs overriding state laws, he is no longer fit to hold a gavel.
Dan Canon, a Louisville lawyer who was instrumental in the getting laws passed for same-sex marriages in the state, said: “The bottom line is if this judge can’t fulfill his duties because of his personal biases, he should resign.”
Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, offered a more concise response, “If he can’t do the job, he shouldn’t have the job.”
"He has taken an oath to uphold the law, which by virtue of the equal protection clause does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation," said Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law school professor. "If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law — not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious — it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath." Geyh’s specialization is in judicial ethics.
This isn’t the first time Nance’s ability to remove personal beliefs from the courtroom has been question. He also has strong feelings on any couple getting a divorce. He reportedly wrote a rule requiring a couple to appear together, even in uncontested divorces. He then offers his condolences "because something very joyful has turned out to be a matter of grief."
Clearly the idea that justice is blind means nothing to judge Nance.