Utah Judge Restates Controversial Order Removing Foster Child from Same-Sex Couple

By: Jeff Coy

Picture By: Torbakhopper on Flickr

The American Bar Association Twitted an article Friday about a judge in Utah amending an order to further explain his findings.

Earlier this week, a Utah judge amended a controversial ruling. This original ruling required the state to remove a foster child from a same-sex married couple. The foster child was to be removed from the two women by November 17 of this year. The child has lived in their home since August. The reasoning behind the ruling was clear, because the couple is not heterosexual.

In his Friday amendment of the earlier ruling, 7th District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen changed his wording originally stating: “it is not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples” and requiring the baby to be removed and placed with a heterosexual couple. Johansen’s amended changed the wording to: “The court cited a concern that research has shown that children are more emotionally and mentally stable when raised by a mother and father in the same home.”

Johansen said Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland could keep the 9 month old girl in their home for now. The judge scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing to determine what is in the foster child’s best interests.

The two women have looked after the child since August with plans of adopting her. There haven’t been any issues raised of the two raising the baby in this time span. Peirce and Hoagland are licensed foster parents. They even have the consent of the girl’s biological mother to adopt the 9 month old.

The couple asked the judge to reverse his original decision and Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services sought a stay pending an appeal. Both adoptions and foster parenting by same-sex couples were not permitted in Utah until last June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling of same-sex marriage being a constitutional right.

I’m personally interested in this research the court cited stating children are more stable when raised by a mother and father in the same home. Is this all the research shows? What about divorced parents and it being legal to divorce after having children? Wouldn’t two moms be better then one using this logic? Would the court rather the child be in a group home or with a mother who clearly is okay with this couple raising the girl?


ABA Journal

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