Kentucky judge who refused gay adoptions skips disciplinary hearing

LEXINGTON — A Kentucky judge who refused to handle gay adoptions skipped a hearing charges that he violated ethics rules on Friday.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, W. Mitchell Nance, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, and his attorneys did not attend a hearing of the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington.

Nance said that he would resign in October, effective Dec. 16. The newspaper reported that his attorneys hoped the case would be dismissed since he was resigning.

Steve Woltnizek, chairman of the commission, told the Herald-Leader “Whether Judge Nance appears or not, we are required to conduct a hearing.”

From the Herald-Leader:

Commission attorney Jeff Mando said afterward that it is “not totally unusual” for a judge to be absent, “especially in light of the fact he resigned.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, which advocates for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said he thought Nance’s absence was “an insult to the process.”

“It shows how flippantly he feels about this,” Hartman said.

The commission deliberated in secret after a 10-minute hearing but won’t announce its decision until next week.