Friday, November 13, 2015

Utah Juvenile Court Judge Reconsiders Ruling Against Lesbian Foster Parents

(photo: Steve Griffin - Salt Lake Tribune)
It appears the Utah judge who ruled a married lesbian couple could NOT be foster parents to a nine month old baby girl is reconsidering his ruling after national outrage over the case.

Via Salt Lake City Tribune:

Under the order issued earlier this week, 7th District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen had given state officials until Nov. 17 to remove the child. In his ruling, Johansen said research showed that children do better in homes with heterosexual parents.

On Friday, Johansen scheduled a hearing for Dec. 4 to determine what is in the best interest of the child.

The Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) on Thursday filed a petition for a stay of the order, while an attorney for the foster parents women — April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce — filed a separate petition asking the judge to reverse his own ruling.

Hoagland and Peirce, who have been married for a year and are licensed foster parents, have cared for the girl since August, as the state has moved through the legal process of terminating the parental rights of the child's biological mother.

The couple, who are also raising Peirce's biological children, ages 12 and 14, intend to adopt the girl and have said the child's mother told Johansen on Tuesday she wants her daughter raised by the couple.

Even conservative Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the judge had overstepped in his ruling:

“I expect the court and the judge to follow the law. He may not like the law, but he should follow the law. We don’t want to have activism on the bench in any way, shape or form. Laws, sometimes people don’t like, but the judge should not interject his own personal beliefs and feelings and supersede the law."

The Human Rights Campaign has filed a formal complaint against the judge saying he violated Section 2.3 of the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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