Move over, Kim Davis! Kentucky’s got a new public servant-turned-anti-LGBTQ rights crusader in town!

Last week, Kentucky family court judge Mitchell Nance announced he will refuse to hear adoption cases involving LGBTQ parents. He is doing so, he says, “as a matter of conscience.”

“Under no circumstances,” said Nance in an order issued last Thursday, “would the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.”

Before we all reach for our pitchforks, it could be argued that Nance has done an honorable thing. Judges are required to recuse themselves whenever a personal bias prohibits them from hearing a case objectively. By laying his prejudice bare, Nance won’t be able to act as one of the many roadblocks LGBTQ people face on the road to adoption. That’s certainly a good thing.

But what, exactly, is forming the basis of Nance’s “conscientious” objection?

It’s not the facts. If it were, his conscience might bother to take into consideration the reams of research on the subject of LGBTQ parenting that have found zero difference in the wellbeing of children raised in same-sex versus opposite-sex headed households. 

It’s also not the law. If it were, his conscience would have to contend with this inconvenient truth: adoption by LGBTQ parents is unambiguously legal in Kentucky, as it is now in every other state in the country.

And it’s absolutely not lived experience. If Nance knows a single LGBTQ family, then he should also know about the extra time, money, and effort it requires for us to have children. We don’t take parenthood lightly.

All that’s left, then, is Nance’s moral objections to “practicing homosexuals.” But his personal religious beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the ability of LGBTQ people to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

So if Nance is truly incapable of ruling fairly on issues related to LGBTQ adoption—despite the research, law, and anecdotal evidence at his disposal—maybe he should be recusing himself from a whole lot more than just adoption proceedings.

Like the legal profession.


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