A Utah judge ruled that a gay married couple has to give up their foster child because he feels the baby will be better off in a heterosexual home. The lesbians from Carbon County are planning to fight the judge’s decision to remove their foster daughter from the home.
“We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Beckie Peirce told the media on Wednesday. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”
Beckie Peirce, 34, married her lesbian partner, April Hoagland, 38, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that same-sex couples could legally wed. The women then signed up to become foster parents. A 1-year-old baby girl was placed in their home for three months as the state processed the termination of parental rights of the child’s biological mother, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.
Judge Orders Baby Removed From Lesbian Couple – April Hoagland (L) and Beckie Pierce https://t.co/lABzauxpgh
— LeanOnUs™ (@Us_LeanOnUs) November 12, 2015
“The mother has asked us to adopt,” Hoagland told the media. “He [Judge Johansen] said he has research to back that children do better in heterosexual homes.”
Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland became licensed as foster parents earlier this year. The same-sex couple said they were shocked when 7th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen ordered the child removed from their home, Fox News reports.
Utah lesbian couple April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce fights to keep foster child. https://t.co/2HBryLgaNt
— ♛AnonNOTORIOUS™ (@MrNegroMilitant) November 12, 2015
The Utah judge reportedly did not cite specifics from his research into the pros and cons of LGBT parenting during the court proceedings. Utah Division of Child and Family Services attorneys and the Guardian Ad Litem agents assigned to represent the child asked for the details and findings of the research, according to the lesbian couple.
The Utah gay married couple are also currently raising Peirce’s 12- and 14-year-old biological children inside the same home. An attorney for the women said they are prepared to fight to keep their foster daughter, who they said seamlessly fit into their family.
“We have a lot of support,” Beckie Peirce said. “DCFS wants us to have the child, the Guardian Ad Litem wants us to have the child, the mother wants us to have the child, so the only thing standing in the way is the judge.”
The order by the Utah judge has given DCFS agents seven days to find a new placement for the 1-year-old foster baby. State law does not prohibit couples who are legally married from serving as foster parents. No other Utah judge has publicly stated or ruled that LGBT parenting is not appropriate or that same-sex couples cannot become foster parents, according to state DCFS director Brent Platt.
DCFS attorneys will reportedly review the Utah judge’s order to remove the foster baby from the lesbian couple as soon as documents are made available to their office. Platt said a thorough review of the ruling will be in order to determine if there are grounds for appeal in the foster child custody case.
“If we feel like [Johansen’s] decision is not best for the child, and we have a recourse to appeal or change it, we’re going to do that,” Platt added.
“April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce were part of a group of married couples who were allowed to become foster… https://t.co/UmPQcnPHmv
— Scrub & Shine (@ScrubShine) November 12, 2015
While waiting to review the order and to determine how to move forward, Utah DCFS is searching for a new home for the baby girl to ensure that they do not violate the judge’s order in the case. Judge Scott Johansen made national news over a controversial ruling in 1997. He was reprimanded by the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission for “demeaning the judicial office.” The chastising by the governing body was in response to the Utah judge slapping a 16-year-old teenage male. The young man had reportedly become belligerent during a meeting at the Price courthouse.
In 2014, the same Utah judge also experienced backlash for ordering a woman to cut off her 13-year-old daughter’s ponytail as punishment for the teen girl cutting off the hair of a toddler at a local restaurant. The hair cutting was offered as part of a deal to decrease the teen’s order to serve 150 hours of community service.
What do you think about the decision of the Utah judge regarding gay parenting and same-sex couples becoming foster parents?
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