Judge Orders Baby Removed From Foster Parents Because They're Gay

gavelJust because same-sex marriage was legalized this year, that unfortunately doesn't mean our court system is free of intolerance. Case in point: A Utah judge ordered a same-sex couple to give up their foster child simply because they're lesbians -- even though the baby's mother wants the couple to adopt her child. What gives?

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Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland of Carbon County, Utah, were married in October 2014 and licensed as foster parents this year. The child in question, a 1-year-old girl, has been in their home for three months (the state is currently in the process of terminating her mother's parental rights). Things have been going well -- so well that, as mentioned earlier, the girl's mom wants Peirce and Hoagland to adopt her. So you can imagine the couple's surprise when 7th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen ordered the be child removed from their care on Tuesday on the basis that "children do better in heterosexual homes." And while Johansen said that he had research to back up his outrageous assertion, he failed to provide any specific sources or studies (even though attorneys for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and the Guardian Ad Litem Office assigned to represent the baby reportedly asked him for details). DCFS attorneys say they have yet to review the case, but will appeal if they find the judge's ruling to be without merit; in the meantime, the agency was given only seven days to find the child a new foster home. 

How any judge could think that ripping a baby out of a home where she's been comfortable and well cared for to live with complete strangers is actually better than being raised consistently and with love by a lesbian couple is incomprehensible, but sadly not all that surprising. More than anything, though, it's just sad. 

"We love her and she loves us, and we haven't done anything wrong," Beckie Peirce told the Salt Lake Tribune. "And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt."

"We have a lot of support," she added. "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 judge, for the record, has something of a controversial history: Johansen once slapped a "belligerent" 16-year-old boy during a courthouse meeting; he also ordered a woman to cut off her 13-year-old daughter's ponytail as a consequence for the teen having cut the hair of a 3-year-old girl at a restaurant.

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Let's all hope his latest questionable action will be reversed, and soon -- because there's a lot more at stake here than a ponytail. Every child deserves to be raised by a family who loves her, and it sounds like that's exactly what Peirce and Hoagland are -- a family who loves this little girl. Which is absolutely all that matters.

 

Image via Brian Turner/Flickr 

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