April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce of Carbon County, Utah, were stunned when Judge Scott Johansen ordered they surrender the one year old foster child placed in their care.
The judge said he felt the child would be better off with a heterosexual couple based on “research” he had done. When asked for the source of that research, he refused.
Via the Advocate:
The couple, who legally wed in October 2014, have taken care of the one-year-old girl for three months and her birth mother has asked them to adopt the child. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services has been forced to find new housing for the child, but officials say they will appeal the judge’s decision.
“We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Peirce told The Salt Lake Tribune. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”
Attorneys for DCFS are currently reviewing the decision. “If we feel like [Johansen’s] decision is not best for the child,” DCFS director Brent Platt said, “and we have a recourse to appeal or change it, we’re going to do that. For us, it’s what’s best for the child.”
“Any loving couple if they are legally married, and meet the requirements, we want them to be involved,” he said.
The child’s state-appointed attorney supports the couple. The birth mother’s lawyer, who was in court with the couple when the decision was handed down, has said the mother is upset and wants her baby to stay with the couple.
The Human Rights Campaign issued this statement:
“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.”
Democratic White House front-runner tweeted her support for the couple:
Watch the local CBS affiliate’s report below.