CBS News reports:
Utah state child welfare officials on Wednesday were reviewing a ruling by a juvenile court judge who ordered a baby to be taken from lesbian foster parents and instead placed with a heterosexual couple for the child’s well-being. Judge Scott Johansen’s order Tuesday raised concerns at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, agency spokeswoman Ashley Sumner said. Its attorneys plan to review the decision and determine what options they have to possibly challenge the order.
Hoagland and Peirce told CBS affiliate KUTV that they are distraught after the ruling that calls for the baby girl they have been raising for three months to be taken away within a week. They said Judge Johansen cited research that children do better when they are raised by heterosexual couples. Hoagland believes the judge actually imposed his religious beliefs. “We are shattered,” she told the station. “It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
The women, who are legally married, were approved after passing home inspections, background checks and interviews with the DCFS. They hope to adopt the baby and have the support of the child’s biological mother. Judge Johansen is precluded by judicial rules from discussing pending cases, Utah courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said. Sumner said she can’t speak to specifics of the case but confirmed that the couple’s account of the ruling is accurate — the judge’s decision was based on the couple being lesbians. The agency isn’t aware of any other issues with their performance as foster parents.
The Human Rights Campaign reacts:
“Removing a child from a loving home simply because the parents are LGBT is outrageous, shocking, and unjust. 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.”