Victory! Utah Judge Reverses Decision To Take Foster Child Away From Lesbian Couple

Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland married last year. They already have two biological children, but decided they also wanted to take in a foster child. Last August they welcomed a one-year-old into their home and were planning to adopt her, making a family of five.

But three months later, a Utah judge tried to put a stop to this plan: during a routine hearing for the couple on November 10, Judge Scott Johansen ordered the baby girl that Peirce and Hoagland had been raising for three months to be taken away within a week.

“I was kind of caught off guard because I didn’t think anything like that would happen anymore,” Hoagland told KUTV. “… It’s not fair, and it’s not right, and it hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Victory For Peirce And Hoagland And For LGBT Rights

After Johansen’s ruling, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services jumped into action immediately and filed a petition on November 12 for a stay of the order from Judge Johansen, and an attorney for the two women filed a separate petition asking the judge to reverse his own ruling.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert also weighed in: “I’m a little puzzled by the action down there, personally,” Herbert said during his monthly KUED news conference, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “[The judge] 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.”

Under all this pressure, Johansen conceded that he made a mistake, and on November 13 he reversed his decision: Peirce and Hoagland can keep their child after all.

This is wonderful news, but this threat still exists, and the situation could easily repeat itself.

A Decision That Was Unjust And Blatantly Cruel

Why did this judge initially rule the way he did? According to Hoagland, Johansen said that “through his research he had found out that kids in homosexual homes don’t do as well as they do in heterosexual homes.”

However, when the judge was asked to show his research, he wouldn’t.

That’s because he couldn’t. 

Even though some anti-gay groups have tried to promote flawed research that same-sex couples aren’t as great of parents, there is plenty of evidence proving the opposite: same-sex parents raise children just as well as opposite-sex parents, if not better. This makes sense, since there are so many obstacles in the way of same-sex couples becoming parents, that it’s clear these children are really wanted and will be well cared-for.

Same-sex Couples Face Huge Obstacles To Adopting

Pierce and Hoagland are one of a number of same-sex married couples who are allowed to become foster parents in Utah after the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage legal across the country. So how was it possible for this judge to rule the way he did?

It turns out that even though a large majority of Americans agree that LGBT couples should be allowed to adopt children, same-sex couples face a confusing mix-up of legislation regulating adoption. It is mostly handled on the state level, and individual decisions are often made by private agencies and judges, as has happened in this Utah case.

In a shocking move last week the leaders of the Latter Day Saints announced they will not baptize or bless the children of married or cohabiting same-gender couples until they reach the age of 18. The decision is understandably now facing wide protest from LGBT Mormons and their advocates. Johansen received his law degree from the Mormon Church’s Brigham Young University, and the area is heavily Mormon

The Human Rights Campaign had strong words on the issue.

“Removing a child from a loving home simply because the parents are LGBT is outrageous, shocking, and unjust,” Chad Griffin, the group’s president, said in a statement. “It also flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that children being raised by same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents. At a time when so many children in foster care need loving homes, it is sickening to think that a child would be taken from caring parents who planned to adopt.”

Congratulations to Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland for standing strong in the face of injustice.

 

111 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y8 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y8 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J8 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J8 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Merry Lynn Angell-Sharps

So happy that the decision was reversed. The decision based on false information that never should have been made in the first place. But that's ignorance and fear for ya....

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Donna T.
Donna T3 years ago

thank you

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Roberto M.
Past Member 3 years ago

THANKS

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Roberto M.
Past Member 3 years ago

THANKS

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Roberto M.
Past Member 3 years ago

THANKS

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