Mitchell Nance is a Kentucky family judge who’s in trouble for turning away gay parents.
In April, Nance messaged lawyers to tell him if any adoption cases involved gay parents so that he could avoid then. He said that he wouldn’t get involved in cases that involved gay parents because “under no circumstance” would the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption of a practicing homosexual.”
As you might imagine, a lot of people had a problem with this. This includes the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission which deemed that Nance’s actions violated multiple ethics codes.
As the Lexington Herald Leader surmises:
“Those included rules that require judges to uphold standards of conduct, comply with the law and act in ways that promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Judges are barred from showing bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.”
That said, Nance’s defense team says that his actions were religious based and also logical. By separating himself from adoption cases with gay parents, he gave the parents an equal chance without his bias stopping them.
Despite that, controversy proceeded Nance until he eventually announced his resignation in October. Then, he asked the commission to dismiss the case seeing as he’d quit.
But Steve Woltnize, the chairmen of the commission, said, “Whether Judge Nance appears or not, we are required to conduct a hearing.”
And guess what? He didn’t show up.
Mitchell Nance and his defense team didn’t show up to the hearing in Lexington, Kentucky. Again though, his presence wasn’t needed and it isn’t out of the usual for a judge not to be present, especially if he resigned earlier.
The hearing however did go through, for only 10 minutes, and Nance was found guilty of misconduct. That said, his retirement makes any punishment a moot point besides publicly announcing his wrongdoing.
As the order stated, "due to respondent's retirement, a public reprimand is warranted, and is the only public sanction available."