In a gross miscarriage of justice that is guaranteed to make most Mommyish readers flip a table, or at least rant and hiss for the next few hours, a judge in Utah has reportedly ordered an infant to be taken away from the foster parents who have been raising her, on the grounds that the parents are a lesbian couple.
Beckie Peirce, 34, and her wife, April Hoagland, 38, are legally married residents of Utah, where they were approved as foster parents earlier this year after rigorous background checks, apartment visits, and interviews. For the past three months they have been foster parents to a baby girl, and they say they want to adopt her and make her legally and permanently a part of their family.
But on Tuesday of this week, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, 7th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen reportedly ordered the baby taken away from Peirce and Hoagland and rehomed with heterosexual foster parents. Johansen allegedly said that there is “research” to indicate that children do better when raised by heterosexual parents, though when asked for specific citations he reportedly said the research was “myriad” and did not specify any studies.
It seems likely that a particularly famous 2012 study by equal marriage opponent and University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus is among the research Johansen was thinking of. Regnerus claimed children raised by gay parents demonstrated less advantageous outcomes, but his study was recently debunked by more thorough research that revealed that most of Regnerus’ perceived “disadvantageous outcomes” disappeared on closer analysis.
“He said he has research to back that children do better in heterosexual homes,” Hoagland said of Johansen’s ruling.
Hoagland and Peirce are understandably devastated. The baby’s biological mother is also livid. She reportedly wants Hoagland and Peirce to be able to adopt the baby, and her lawyer said she planned to appeal the ruling that took the baby away from them.
Peirce and Hoagland say they intend to fight to keep the baby, even though Johansen’s order commanded Utah DCFS to find the baby a new home within seven days. According to Peirce and Hoagland, basically everyone involved in this case wants them to have the baby.
“We have a lot of support,” Peirce said. “DCFS wants us to have the child, the Guardian Ad Litem wants us to have the child, the mother wants us to have the child, so the only thing standing in the way is the judge.”
DCFS director Brent Platt says no other judge has done something like this, and while the office has to do what the judge says, Platt says the office is currently looking into the case to see if there are grounds for appeal.
“If we feel like
decision is not best for the child,” he said, “and we have a recourse to appeal or change it, we’re going to do that.”
With everyone on the side of Hoagland, Peirce, and the baby, I am cautiously optimistic that another judge will do right by this family. Hopefully the baby will go back where she belongs, and Johansen and his spurious “research” will not be able to do anything like this again.
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