Anti-Gay Utah Judge Lets Lesbian Parents Keep Foster Child—for Now

On Friday, Utah judge Scott Johansen amended his earlier decision ordering the Division of Child and Family Services to remove a lesbian couple’s foster child from their home, because he insisted that the baby girl would fare better in a heterosexual household. Johansen does not appear to have changed his mind about the merits of his ruling. He has simply decided to give the couple the courtesy of a hearing in December to determine the child’s best interests, before removing her from her home.

Judge Scott Johansen. 

Courtesy utahcourts.gov

DCFS has already announced that it will support the couple, April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, in court. Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert also criticized Johansen’s order, stating that “he may not like the law, but he should follow the law.” (Utah does not consider sexual orientation when weighing a foster child’s best interests—nor could it under the U.S. Constitution.) The child’s birth mother strongly supports her daughter’s placement with Hoagland and Peirce, and more than 71 scholarly studies confirm that the children of same-sex couples fare just as well as (if not better than) than the children of opposite-sex couples.