UTAH: Judge Amends Order, Schedules December Hearing On Removing Baby From Lesbian Parents

Breaking from the Salt Lake Tribune:

A Utah juvenile court judge has amended an order that a 9-month-old girl be removed from the home of her married same-sex foster parents because the two are lesbians, and has instead scheduled a hearing on the matter. 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.

Obviously this is far from over.

UPDATE: More from the New York Times.

A Utah judge on Friday reversed his order to take a foster child away from a same-sex couple because of their sexual orientation, state officials said. It is not entirely clear that the fight is over, given the wording of the revised order the judge issued Friday. Judge Johansen eliminated a line saying that “it is not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples,” and another ordering the child removed and placed with a heterosexual couple. But the new order still says, “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.” And there is still a Dec. 4 hearing scheduled on the best interests of the child.

  • Bravo! Paging Mr. Regnerus, Regnerus, party of one

    • MattM

      YOU BE QUIET

      • Eat a bag of dicks, Dr. Dick

        • Joe knows who I am.

          He’s a Dr like Ben Carson is a Dr.

          • He has his own website. SMDH

            http://www.markregnerus.com/contact-mark.html

          • Joe knows who I am.

            Website? That’s a Frontpage!

          • Reality.Bites

            Because of affirmative action?

          • Joe knows who I am.

            I was going to say lax standards.

          • Octavio

            ouch, again 🙂

          • Maria Robinson

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          • Maureen Walker

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          • Octavio

            ouch 🙂

          • Bad Tom

            Except less credible.

        • Joseph Miceli

          That’s just giving him what he wants.

        • B Snow
      • Necessitas

        What a spittle-flecked loon.

    • oikos

      He is just freaky in appearance.

      • Cousin Bleh

        He should be discredited for that thing crawling on his chin.

        • Bj Lincoln

          Large bubble of pus on his neck.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Oh, no, I think that’s supposed to be some kind of beard….

        • oikos

          He gives me the creeps.

        • Snarkaholic

          {From The Urban Dictionary}
          Merkin
          A pubic hair piece. A toupee for the pubic area/genitals. In the 1700’s when mercury was used to treat sexually transmitted diseases (Gonorrhea or Syphilis) one of the side effects was the loss of pubic hair. To disguise this condition, that was not cured by mercury, a Merkin was employed.

          • TheManicMechanic

            ‘Merka! Fuck yeah!

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Oh, thank you so much for that!

            Thanks to Lily Tomlin, I have known this word since I was a child. She was doing a radio play we listened to in the car, and over the closing music, she did a phony “credits roll” that included:

            “Furs by Mirkin”

            One of the adults laughed, and then we got into a discussion

          • Snarkaholic

            It was also a running gag on ‘The L Word’; every time someone would mention character Stacy Merkin’s name, someone else would say, “The vagina wig???”

        • BlueberriesForMe

          I can’t imagine what he was thinking when proceeding to grow “that” – then again – “Oh, look at me – I’m REALLY ‘cool’.” YEcccccccccccch.

      • Reality.Bites

        You’d look just the same when sucking an imaginary cock. Well your mouth would. You wouldn’t have the crazy eyes.

    • Jimmie Z

      *This* @§§#OLE again!

      • bambinoitaliano

        Not even a gastroenterologist would perform a colonoscopy on this asshole.

    • Bluto

      fucking lying asshole scumbag twatwaffles. Both of ’em.

      • MDB

        That’s Mister Fucking Lying Asshole Scumbag Twatwaffle, and GOOD-DAY to you, sir.

        Harrumph !#$#!

        • Bluto

          You do know I was referring to the judge & regurgitus, right. I wouldn’t grant either the courtesy of a Mister.

          • MDB

            Si, señor Bluto,

            ….I added the /s above. 😉

          • GC

            That judge doesn’t deserve “Your Honor”, either.

    • GC

      I never get tired of reposting Judge Bernard Friedman’s smackdown, that also gave us a lesson in the correct use of quotation marks:

  • pickypecker
    • Marc

      Again with the clapping gifs!! You’re gonna get flagged and reported!! (extra !! for extra sarcasm)

  • Michael Smith

    From what I gathered, everybody involved objected to his ruling and said they would appeal it if he didn’t back down.

    • Randy503

      Oh, now that there is national attention and a hearing date, you can believe that every organization from NOM to FRC will file briefs and try to get their “expert” witnesses into the hearing.

      • Bad Tom

        And our side will have competent experts.

        • Bj Lincoln

          Exactly. We WILL win this. We have facts and the support of every major REAL professional orgs.. They have nothing…again.
          Take it to SCOTUS. Make the ‘law of the land’ that ANY adult who passes the requirements can foster and adopt.

      • David Walker

        Has anyone become braver since the Prop 8 hearings? The list of their experts dwindled as the realized they had to swear to tell the truth. And one of them also did a complete 180. So, yeah, it would be fun if one of them actually showed up to testify, baby, testify.

        • Bj Lincoln

          He was the only one brave enough to stick around. I loved it when he agreed with our facts and pretty much discredited everything they had.

    • b

      One Supreme Court Order recognizing a constitutional right to adoption coming right up.

  • bambinoitaliano

    We know who should be removed from the court house.

  • romanhans

    Wait, you mean sensible judges *shouldn’t* google “+gays +bad +parents”?

  • kirtanloorii

    Now who’s the “activist judge?”

  • bkmn

    Note that the judge has still not provided what study he based his opinion on (most likely Regnerus). I hope someone from the womens’ legal team will provide the judge with the Michigan judge’s ruling that basically said Regnerus was complete shit.

  • NancyP

    Clearly, the national attention given the case is causing the judge to have second thoughts, possibly about his career versus making a “statement” that is bound to be overturned. Bringing up a list of “strange judicial decisions” might cause voters to vote him out or the bar association to take a hard look the next time he does something strange.

    • Soren456

      As long as he stays in Utah (or maybe Idaho), he needn’t worry about his career.

      • Octavio

        Yeah, But he’s a Carbon County judge (so I’ve read). And Carbon County is famous for not being a bastion of white momos. Lots of catlicks, meskins, greeks, eyetalians and native ‘merikuns live in Price and Helper (the BIG towns in Carbon). So, anything could happen.

  • Sean

    ..

    • Reality.Bites

      The Burtka-Harrises’ children are not adopted.

      • Bluto

        Which 1 gave birth then? I’m cornfused again.

        • Reality.Bites

          They mixed their sperm and used a surrogate. As it turned out, each one is the bio-dad of the other.

          • oikos

            Sperm mixing gay commies.

          • Joe in PA

            hey, wait a sec, I do that as often as I can. 🙂

          • oikos

            To have kids or just for the hell of it?

          • Joe in PA

            for the taste. Ahem. 😉

          • Octavio

            🙂

          • Gerry Fisher

            What’s the word cumming to? [groan]

          • oikos
          • Phillip in L.A.

            That is too fabulous….

  • teeveedub

    Caught! This POS thought a ruling like his would fly under the radar.

    News flash: this is 2015.

  • Cousin Bleh

    I hope they’re getting good legal representation for this upcoming hearing and someone prepared to show the judge that the Regnerus study has been thoroughly discredited. (Not that he’ll listen, but still.)

    • Reality.Bites

      There’s no real indication that the judge did any research at all.

    • Randolph Finder

      Wouldn’t surprise me that much if they had had no lawyer. Normally these types of hearing are *very* boring. Of course the next time they go in front of this judge, I’m sure someone will be representing them.

      • clay

        The couple already has a lawyer. Utah DHS certainly has a lawyer, who already objected. Utah (R) Governor has a lawyer who’s ready to act . . .

        • Randolph Finder

          Ouch, didn’t realize the DHS lawyer had also objected. Some states are easier than others to force a change of Judge if both sides request it, not sure on Utah.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Outstanding news! Guess the national outrage got to him. Now for the bullshit Regnerus paper to be ripped to shreds during that hearing for the quakery it is. Keep the child in it’s loving home, don’t rip the family apart.

  • Good! The judge has removed the threat that the children will be removed on November 17th. Now the next step is to remove the judge!

    • stuckinthewoods

      It would be fitting if the judge were removed…..and placed in the care of some nice lesbians.

      • Yes, I like it. Broaden his horizons!

      • Balderdashing

        Eavesdropping on two lesbians making love may be at the top of his dream list.

      • BlueberriesForMe

        “We have found it best that bigoted religious fanatics receive the most meaningful life lessons when supervised by Big Gay.”

      • ChrisMorley

        While the number of nice lesbians is uncountable, have any of them volunteered for this? Do they get danger money?

    • Soren456

      Meanwhile, these poor women must live with this unsettled issue and possibly devastating outcome hanging over their heads.

      Only a Family Values asshole would do that to other people.

      • Good news! I’ve read elsewhere that the judge has reversed his decision and the couple will keep the child.

        • Soren456

          Sure hope so. I’m checking the Salt Lake Tribune site, where I assume the news would quickly appear, and it hasn’t.

          • Thanks. The other story I read may have just been incomplete.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          The couple will keep the child…for now.

          In reversing his prior decision, the “judge” scheduled a hearing in December to revisit the issue of “the best interest of the child”

  • Nic Peterson

    I know that justice will prevail, but I hope they are able to recover their legal fees. The legal arguments aren’t going to write themselves and a childs college fund could be realized on what will be spent.

    • Reality.Bites

      There’s no one to recover from. This wasn’t the prospective parents against an evil government. It was everyone on the same side and the judge imposing his will over everyone else’s

      • Octavio

        🙁

      • Phillip in L.A.

        True.

        But even if there were someone from whom they could recover, judges have absolute immunity against damage awards, even if they act in excess of their jurisdiction (even under 42 USC § 1983).

        I remember a case where a judge held a “mock sentencing” of a courthouse coffee vendor for making bad coffee; the vendor sued. End result: judge immune. There was also a case where a judge told his bailiff to go out in the hall and bring in an attorney for a hearing, “using excessive force.” End result: judge immune. & c.

  • JT

    Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen was shocked (shocked!) to find out that basing his decision on what he read in Breitbart was not a good idea.

    • danolgb

      “Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen was shocked (shocked!) to find out that basing his decision on what he read in B̶r̶e̶i̶t̶b̶a̶r̶t̶ Deseret News was not a good idea.”

      The [Mormon-owned] Deseret News was the first paper to report on the Regnerus study and has never published anything about it being discredited. In fact, they have still been known to refer to it.

      • Soren456

        The Salt Lake Tribune is also threatened with Mormon ownership.

        • danolgb

          There’s a threat there, but they’re still independent. Bagley and Rolly are not bullied easily.

          • Soren456

            Owners are trying to sell. A deal with a wealthy Utahn who was seen as independent of the church, fell through last week. There is tension.

          • danolgb

            I know all about it. It all stems from the crappy joint agreement made a long time ago.

      • Octavio

        We always called it “The Desperate News” because it’s nothing but an apologist rag for the phantasmagorical beliefs momos insist are “true.”

        • Sk3ptic

          Extra points for “phantasmagorical!”
          I can’t stand it that my parents still subscribe to that rag.

          • Octavio

            Theys gotta have the “church” news.

        • danolgb

          It got even worse when they laid half the reporters off and they now share the newsroom with KSL. All they really have time for is paraphrasing Washington Times and Fox News or printing press releases from the church verbatim. Also, they regularly publish an article whenever a Mormon in the world sneezes.

          • Octavio

            Hah! That’s hysterical! I hadn’t heard that “the church” was feeling the economic pinch of the decline of newspapering. Good to know. Someday I may have to visit SLC again. But then there’s always the risk of dying in that god forsaken hole. Then again, a heart attack while standing at the top of the Supreme lift at Alta might not be so bad, as long as they left my body in the snow to freeze and then decay in the spring with the melt. 🙂

  • ericpayne

    If everyone involved — the child’s natural mother, the Utah Division of Child Services and the foster mothers — want the child to remain in the care of, and be adopted by the foster mothers, than on what petition was the Court questioning placement of the child? Did the natural father object… and, if so, why is he, or his family, not taking custody? Or is it solely the will of the judge, based on his own personal beliefs… in essence, an edict from the bench?

    • Reality.Bites

      Nothing like that. Custody and adoption is always done through a family court order.

    • danolgb

      This was a regular hearing on the foster parents. No one objected except the judge on his own.

  • danolgb

    Meanwhile the LDS Church “clarifies” it’s new policies. Which makes it even more blatant that they’re trying to influence custody cases.
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865641430/LDS-Church-provides-additional-information-on-handbook-policies-about-same-sex-couples-and-their.html

    • Herald

      From the article: “Our concern with respect to children is their current and future well-being and the harmony of their home environment,” If anyone only reads that they would think this is really about what is best for children. Read the rest and you know different!

      • Todd Allis

        I think they mean they don’t want to come between children and their parents. But seriously, that’s what their policy is going to do.

        • danolgb

          And in custody battles in Utah where the vast majority of judges are Mormon, it’s going to influence their decisions.
          The church claims children are disadvantaged by living in same-gendered households and the church is doing everything it can to ensure that their claim holds true.

          • Todd Allis

            Sadly, sounds exactly like that’s what they’re going for.

        • clay

          I think they mean they don’t want to come between children and their future giving to the church.

    • Todd Allis

      Especially the part about the primary home kids live in.

    • Stev84

      Typical cult behavior. It’s not any of their damn business where children live.

    • David Walker
      • MDB

        “A spokesman for the church declined to comment on the resignations.”

        • Octavio

          “Resignations? What resignations? I don’t see no resignations.”

      • danolgb

        Yeah, it will reduce the numbers a little, but many were inactive anyway. They claim to have 11 million members, but it looks like actual active members is closer to 5 million. There are many countries with activity rates less than 15%. It’s like some of the older gay-dating sites which counted members whether they logged in regularly or only once. It’s going to be harder for the church if they keep digging their heals in. Their leaders are all quite old. As they die off, younger more open-minded members are going to take their place.

        • David Walker

          While I agree they may be younger, they will still have to be voted in by their elders. There’s as much hope for serious change as there is in the RCC.

          • danolgb

            Well, the main difference is the RCC isn’t made up by lay leaders. The LDS church is. There’s opportunities for them to have more access to the real world. They also have real families. And there truly are a huge amount of Baby Boomers in the leadership of the church. They’re only going to start dying off at a faster rate.

          • Octavio

            Still, not dying off fast enough or great enough numbers. 🙁

          • David Walker

            Good points. Thank you.

  • jomicur

    And I’m sure his hearing will be completely “fair and balanced,” just like all right-wing actions.

    • Reality.Bites

      Oh it will be. Because it’s not a hearing, it’s a capitulation. He’s been warned.

      • jomicur

        Well, let’s hope he’s that rare religious loony who can actually recognize defeat. Unlike the cow in Kentucky. 😉

        • David L. Caster

          That Kentucky cow is not smart enough to conspire in the striking of a match, it’s her zealot christofascist lawyers that keep the fire burning.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        I think so, too.

        The presiding judge of this court probably had a little meeting with “Hizzoner” last night

  • billbear1961

    Feeling the blowback provoked by your INSANE ruling, Johansen, that ruling based on imaginary studies?

    Are you surprised by the OUTRAGE coming your way??

    You should be removed from the bench. you unfit JACKASS.

  • MDB
  • Ninja0980

    Alas for this asshole judge, this isn’t the 1980’s, 90’s or early 2000’s where you could make a bigoted ruling and get away with it.
    This is 2015 and pulling bigoted shit like this isn’t going to fly under the radar.

    • Balderdashing

      Except in Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and some parts of Texas.

      • clay

        (Kansas and some parts of Missouri, apparently, as well)

  • Blake Jordan

    Can we get him disbarred by then…

    • danolgb

      Good luck. Remember.. it’s Utah. Probably half the lawyers in the state went to BYU’s law school.

      • Randolph Finder

        Actually, my guess is less than half. University of Utah and Brigham Young University both have law schools with about the same Enrollment. And Utah is one of the states which uses the “Uniform Bar Exam” which would make it easier for someone from a neighboring state like Colorado, Wyoming or Idaho (all of which also do the UBE) to be admitted the the Utah bar.

        And cross admission to the Bar isn’t too ugly with the exception of *one* state which it really isn’t worth trying unless you want to Law School there: Louisiana. (There are wierd pieces of pre-Napoleonic French civil law stuck in odd places)

        • danolgb

          I recognize I was using a bit of hyperbole. With the exception of the stupidly high amount of BYU lawyers which seem to be working in Washington DC, I suspect the percentage of those staying in Utah is a bit higher than the UofU.

          • Randolph Finder

            Not sure. UofU is for people who don’t want their *entire* life run by the church, but definitely isn’t the “Heathen” school that BYU alumni sometimes say it is…

            BTW, the UofU law school has an LGBT and allies organization.

          • danolgb

            I know they have one. I went there. Also, my niece just graduated from law school at U of U. I’m not sure you read my response the way I intended.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          Just to be a complete stickler on this, wasn’t Louisiana’s code civile part of Napoleonic law?

          • Reality.Bites

            Yes. As is Quebec’s

          • Randolph Finder

            Louisiana’s code civil includes pieces remaining from Spanish Law, pre-Napoleonic French Law, Napoleonic Code and pieces from the US/British Law.

            New Orleans was in flux between the French and the Spanish even before the French Revolution.

      • noni

        And the rest of the USA went to Liberty University.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Here I thought it’s beyond me to be a senator, brain surgeon, judge or a lawyer. All these clowns, Ben Carson, Matt Staver and now this Scott Johansen is making feel like I had wasted my life away.

  • NowAnAgnostic

    The following is the AP headline. The article does not mention a December 4, 2015, hearing. Did the AP screw up?

    Utah judge’s reverses order to take baby from lesbian couple
    The Associated Press – By By BRADY McCOMBS – Associated Press
    27 minutes ago

    • Stubenville

      …or the AP just rushed something into print and covered their bases,

  • Tor

    Does this judge not see the irony in that the presumably heterosexual bio-parents of this child were deemed unfit, they would, by virtue of their sexuality be better parents than these two wonderful women.

    • MDB
    • Reality.Bites

      Let’s not rush to judgement about the bio parents. All we know about them is that the mother supports the termination of her parental rights and giving the baby to this married couple. For whatever reason, she isn’t able to raise the child herself, but still cares enough to do the right thing.

      • Tor

        Yes that is the right thing to do. NYTimes says daddy is in prison.

  • Tempus Fuggit

    Oh, a hearing! Right, because that’s what we do when the judge is absolutely wrong and all other involved parties are unanimously absolutely right, we drag the process out for another month or so.

    • William

      Judges rarely say oops.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      I’m hoping the hearing will quietly be taken off-calendar before it occurs.

      May just have been a way for this “judge” to appear to save whatever face he thinks he may have left

      • Tempus Fuggit

        I’m having difficulty discerning this particular judge’s face from his ass. Whether that’s because they look the same, or because they’re one and the same, or because one’s firmly impacted in the other—that’s left as an exercise for the reader.

  • Spongebob CrankyPants

    “But the new order still says, “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.”” Then single, heterosexuals who are raising children should be concerned.

    • CPT_Doom

      Perhaps that’s why the only studies that should matter are the ones undertaken by social services to determine if this couple is best for the child. Our rights and our abilities should never be judged based on social science studies.

      • Bad Tom

        Especially discredited, incompetent social science studies.

    • clay

      Single heterosexuals fostering children in Utah ARE concerned. Remember they eliminated single-parent adoptions as a way to punish people when they realized they were going to lose on same-sex marriage recognition.

  • CJAS

    This judge once slapped a teen in his courtroom. So much for that superior heterosexual parenting skill.

  • aar9n

    Research does not mean bible reading, your honor

  • nycmcmike

    the ONLY study that has those findings has been completely debunked. unfuckingreal

  • SFBruce

    This is a baby step, but at least it suggests this activist judge has some awareness that he’s almost certain to be reversed.

    • William

      When the governor of the state goes on network news to speak against the ruling, he might pay attention. Heck, even the newscasters reporting the story sounded stunned.

      • clay

        The governor speaking about this case actually said Utah doesn’t want activist judges.

  • Jmdintpa

    a child does better in a home where all the parents love and support them…. unlike so many of the homes where these kids actually come from full of drug addicts and abusers and violent domestic situations and on and on and on but no one says a word about all that if your “opposite sex”

    • Octavio

      Or mormon families where there are a minimum of eight kids and the parents put the burden of raising the younger children on the older children. Fortunately, eight kids isn’t enough to exploit as the family ponzi scheme. This is for all the lazy ass carbo-loaded fat bucket butt momo mommies I have known.

  • James

    In other words, because they are a same-sex couple these two women are being dragged through the court system for no good reason at all, with the threat that a child will be removed from their home, again for no good reason at all. So much for LGBTs being a powerful elite.

  • joe ho

    can they sue?

  • Homophobic bigotry, folks. Nothing but.

  • Baltimatt

    I think one thing to remember is that this story would have been unimaginable two years ago. Well, not the judge and his crazy ruling, but the idea of married lesbians in Utah being able to foster and, it is hoped, eventually adopt a child and when the judge stands in their way, the state backs up the lesbians.

    • Soren456

      You’re right. And I would add that the considerable sympathy for the women inside Utah itself (not to mention elsewhere) is something new under the sun.

  • PeterC

    Just curious. What was “wrong” with the biological Mother? Was there a biological Father”. Was this child the product of a “married” couple?
    Apparently the “preferred” two people who produced this child were NOT qualified to do their required jobs. So did not meet this Judge’s requirements either.

    • Ben in Oakland

      Many points for that observation.

    • Randolph Finder

      From the NYT:

      Court papers show that the baby girl is not a candidate for reunification with her biological parents. They say that she was abused, that her father is incarcerated and that her birth mother has relinquished all rights to her.

      • Nexus1

        Also this little girl is only 9 months old now and has been in the care of her foster parents for 3 months, which means that her bio parents abused her in the first 6 months of her life. The type of people who would abuse an infant (or a child of any age) definitely don’t need to raise her to adulthood. This little girl is in a much much better place with those two women than she would have ever been with her biological parents. The one redeeming fact with her bio mom is that she is not contesting the adoption and the severing of her parental rights. She at least understands that her daughter will have a better life with these two loving women and their two other children than she could have given her. The fact that this “judge” dismissed the feelings of all the concerned parties involved and inserted his own prejudice and preference instead of what was good for that little girl tells us just how little he actually cares about the children and adults that come into his courtroom.

  • noni

    Church of Hater Day Saints.

  • TrollopeReader

    From the article: ”

    In his original order, Johansen said he didn’t
    believe that would be best for the girl, saying it was his “belief that
    research has shown children are more emotionally and mentally stable”
    when raised by heterosexual parents, and that same sex unions have
    “double” the rate of instability.

    The order also says “the emotional problems
    suffers by children in same sex relationships increase by a factor of
    four compared to children raised by heterosexual couples.”

    Johansen declined to identify or provide specific citations for the research despite requests from attorneys, the order notes.

    In his amended document, however, Johansen has
    scratched out most of that language, including the word “belief,” which
    he has replaced with “concern.” “

    • William

      The couple’s lawyer can submit a dump truck load of evidence refuting the Regnerus study.

      • TrollopeReader

        I hope they do!!

  • Maria Robinson

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  • Maureen Walker

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