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Nebraska judge who nixed same-sex adoption target of filing

July 13, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Former state Rep. Ernie Chambers is known for seeking the censure of Nebraska judges he believes have acted outside the bounds of fairness. Now, Chambers is targeting a judge in the state’s northeastern corner who saw the Nebraska Supreme Court overturn his denial of an adoption petition to a same-sex couple.

In a complaint filed last week with the Nebraska Judicial Qualifications Commission, Chambers accuses Dixon County Judge Douglas Luebe of violating state law requiring judges perform their duties fairly and impartially and without bias, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Luebe described himself as “old-fashioned” in denying an adoption petition for a same-sex married couple last year. He denied the petition based not on state law, but on the legal definition of “wife” that he pulled from a law dictionary. Luebe said the married women who sought to adopt had listed themselves in their petition as “wife and wife.” He balked, saying a law dictionary defined “wife” as “‘a woman who has a lawful living husband.’”

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Nebraska’s highest court overturned that denial in March, ruling that the plain language of state adoption law does not preclude same-sex married couples from adopting.

In his complaint, Chambers called Luebe a “scalawag in judicial robes,” and said the judge warranted discipline under the Nebraska Constitution because he acted unlawfully and had inflicted “extreme mental anguish on a family.”

“His contemptuous conduct is so blatantly inhumane, cruel and devoid of ordinary human compassion that the Angels of impartial justice and judicial rectitude droop their pinions and blush in mortification,” Chambers wrote.

Luebe did not respond to the World-Herald’s request for comment about the complaint.