November 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Utah judge orders child removed from same-sex parents

A judge ordered the removal of a child from a same-sex household. (Image courtesy KUTV)

A judge ordered the removal of a child from a same-sex household. (Image courtesy KUTV)

A same-sex couple in Utah is about to lose their foster child as a result of a state judge’s determination children don’t do as well in LGBT homes.

As local CBS affiliate KUTV first reported on Wednesday, April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce of Carbon County say the baby they’ve loved and raised for the last three months will be taken from their home and moved to an opposite-sex household.

Judge Scott Johansen of the Seventh District Juvenile Court ordered the child removed in seven days. According to the couple, the judge said he has research indicating children don’t fare as well in same-sex households, but hasn’t produced his findings.

“We’ve been told to care for this child like a mother, and I am her mother,” Hoagland says in the report. “That’s who she knows. And she’s just going to be taken away in seven days to another probably good loving home, but it’s not fair, and it’s not right, and it just hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”

It’s hard to imagine the judge would have any accurate research showing children are worse off with same-sex parents. Major medical and psychological organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association, have concluded there’s no scientific basis for same-sex couples are less capable parents than straight couples, or that their children are less psychologically healthy and well adjusted.

According to KUTV, the couple is legally married, want to adopt the baby and plan to appeal the decision. The biological mother of the child reportedly has said she wants the child to remain with the same-sex couple.

Nancy Volmer, a spokesperson for the Seventh District Juvenile Court, confirmed the accuracy of the report to the Washington Blade.

Utah’s Department of Child & Family Services has said it cannot defy the judge’s order, but wants to review the decision.

It’s not the first time Johansen, who received his law degree from Brigham Young University in 1977, has made headline for his orders. According to the conservative website known as The Blaze, in 2012 he reportedly told a Utah mother she would reduce her 13-year-old daughter’s sentence if she chopped off the girl’s ponytail in court. The mother took up the offer which the mother taken, but later said she wishes she hadn’t and filed a complaint.

h/t The New Civil Rights Movement

CORRECTION: An initial version of this article misspelled the name of Nancy Volmer. The Blade regrets the error.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

3 Comments
  • Call Judge Johansen and tell him it is completely unacceptable in America for a Mormon judge to impose his crazy religious beliefs on other people in the courtroom, as happened in this case: 1-435-381-5314

  • In the initial court cases here in Hawai‘i in the 1990’s that got the ball rolling in laying the groundwork for same-sex marriage, the Mormon church threw its two cents worth into court proceedings. The LDS church’s “expert witness”, a psychologist from BYU Hawaii, initially claimed that research revealed that same-sex couples were worse parents than straight couples. However, under cross examination, the same Mormon psychologist had to admit that he’d lied and that the academic research actually showed that children raised in same-sex households fared as well as those in heterosexual homes. The judge almost kicked the LDS church out of further proceedings. I wish he had.

  • While this ruling could have been spawned by the recent (and vile) change in LDS doctrine regarding gay couples and their kids, I suspect it’s also about the notorious junk science “Regnerus paper” – especially given that the judge is unwilling to cite his justification for the ruling.

    When Utah was appealing the marriage equality ruling last year it abruptly withdrew all its claims which were based on Regnerus, literally within days of Regnerus being thoroughly debunked and discredited by a federal court in Michigan. Apparently this dimwit in Utah didn’t get the memo.

    Adoption by same-sex couples has been perfectly legal in Utah since October 2014 so what the judge did is clearly illegal and will be overturned on appeal. So whether this bad ruling is due to religion or junk science, this judge needs to be promptly removed from the bench.

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