On Tuesday, juvenile court judge Scott Johansen ordered a baby to be taken away from its married lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple instead, ruling it would be better for the child’s well-being. Utah state child welfare officials say the ruling has raised concerns, and they are determining their legal options to mount a challenge. Same-sex married couples are allowed to become foster parents in Utah, since the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality.
The couple, April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, had been raising the baby girl for three months, but the judge ordered it be taken away within a week, citing research that children fared better when raised by heterosexual couples. However, Hoagland says that the judge was imposing his own religious beliefs and says they were “shattered” by the ruling, telling the Salt Lake City TV station: “It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Ashley Sumner, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services confirmed the couple’s account of the ruling, saying there were no issues with their performance as foster parents. “We just want sharing, loving families for these kids,” Sumner said. “We don’t really care what that looks like.”
Read the full story at Time.