Richard Nelson’s rebuttal of the Herald Leader’s editorial on Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance’s bias toward homosexuals contains within it abundant reasons demonstrating the validity of the editorial.
First and foremost, the courtroom is governed (NOT?) by one person’s moral framework, but rather the rule of law. The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law to all of us, including people considered sinful by Nance’s religious beliefs.
In addition, Nelson uses phrases such as protected classes, societal consensus on marriage, etc., stating these have radically changed, mostly through the courts. These expose the great lie of the religious right that activist judges are imposing new morals on society. It is society mores that have changed and continue to change for the better. The courts, like other institutions, are reacting to the new reality of our society.
So Nance is guilty of bigotry couched in conscience, and no, he cannot perform his duties according to his religious beliefs except in conformance with the rule of law.
And last but not least, Nelson has clearly misunderstood the lesson in Muhammad Ali’s conscientious objection to serving in the military, which was that every person has the right to live according to their religious beliefs but not the right to impose those beliefs on others, especially in the courtroom.