Update: Lesbian Couple In Utah Will Keep Their Foster Daughter

Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/ Getty Images.
Update: A day after the story of his decision to remove a child from her foster parents because of their sexuality went viral, a judge has changed his mind.

The New York Times
reports that Judge Scott Johansen has reversed his decision to remove the 9-month-old girl from her foster parents, married couple Rebecca Peirce and April Hoagland. The parents and the state Division of Child and Family Services had both filed motions asking the judge to reconsider. The revised order, which will allow the girl to stay with the family, eliminated the line “it is not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples.” However, it still contained a line stating that “research has shown that children that children are more emotionally and mentally stable when raised by a mother and father in the same home.” There is a hearing scheduled for December 4th to examine the best interests of the child.

This story was originally published on November 12, 2015.
April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce are a legally married lesbian couple living in Utah. But although they have a marriage license and a foster-care license, a judge has ordered their foster daughter to be taken from them because of their sexual orientation. On November 10, Judge Scott Johansen ordered that the 1-year-old girl the couple had been fostering for three months be placed into another domestic situation. Hoagland told The Salt Lake City Tribune that Johansen said he "has research to back that children do better in heterosexual homes," but the judge failed to produce the results he referenced. In fact, most modern studies have shown children raised by homosexual parents face no more disadvantages than those raised by heterosexual parents. Despite the judge's ruling, Peirce and Hoagland say the Department of Children and Family Services and the child's birth mother have raised no objections to her staying within their care. Hoagland actually told the Tribune that the birth mother wants the couple to adopt the child. Under the order, the child will be removed within a week. However, Peirce and Hoagland plan to challenge the judge's decision, as there is currently no law in Utah that would prevent a legally married same-sex couple from acting as foster parents. Ben Luks-Morgan, director of communications at the Utah Pride Center, told us, "The Utah Pride Center is keeping this family in our hearts and minds, and will be supportive of any potential legal challenge in this case."

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