Utah Judge Scott Johansen has removed himself from the gay foster parents case. Previously, Johansen had ordered a baby girl be removed from the lesbian foster parents approved by the state department of children and family services.
Scott Johansen ordered the Utah DCFS to remove the foster child and place her in a heterosexual home. LGBT activists called for the judge to be impeached and removed from bench before he removed himself from the case on Monday, Fox News reports.
Even though Scott Johansen reversed his order to have the 9-month-old girl removed from the lesbians’ home, Utah DCFS officials voiced concerns that the judge could still decide to remove the baby from Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland at a later date.
Jim Hunnicutt, an attorney for the married gay couple, asked for the judge to be disqualified from the case due to a potential bias which broke judicial code of conduct rules.
— John Barrowman MBE (@Team_Barrowman) November 13, 2015
“Our greatest concern now is taking care of our beautiful baby foster daughter,” a statement issued by April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce said.
The order to remove the baby girl from the gay foster parents by the Judge Johansen gave DCFS agents seven days to find a new placement for the child. Utah state law does not prohibit couples who are legally married from serving as foster parents. No other Utah judge has ruled that LGBT parenting is not appropriate, or that same-sex couples cannot become foster parents, according to state DCFS director Brent Platt.
“We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Beckie Peirce said during a press conference. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, 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. The infant 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 Johansen made national news in 1997 when he was reprimanded by the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission for “demeaning the judicial office.” The sanctions were issued in response to the judge slapping a 16-year-old teenage male. The teenager had reportedly become belligerent during a meeting at the Price courthouse.
In 2014, Scott Johansen sparked controversy when offering a deal to the mother of a teenage girl. If the woman 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 judge would reduce the teen’s community service hours.
During the DCFS hearing with the lesbian couple, the judge did not go state specific reasons why gay foster parents were not equipped or appropriate to raise a child. Johansen did reportedly say that his research into gay parenting led him to his decision to order the removal of the baby. Utah Division of Child and Family Services attorneys and the Guardian Ad Litem assigned to represent the foster child asked the judge for facts and specifics in cited by his research.
“We have a lot of support,” Beckie Peirce said after Scott Johansen ruled that the child be removed from the home. “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.”
“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
Utah DCFS officials deemed the lesbian foster parents to be “very capable” caregivers of the child. The women are also co-parenting Peirce’s teenage biological children from a previous relationship.
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