Society

Same-Sex Foster Parents, State Fight Utah Judge's Order To Give Up Child

| by Michael Allen
April Hoagland (left) and Beckie PeirceApril Hoagland (left) and Beckie Peirce

On Nov. 10, 7th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen ordered a 9-month-old baby girl removed from the Carbon County, Utah, home of April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, because he said children are better off with heterosexual foster parents.

Hoagland and Peirce are legally married, and they passed all the requirements, interviews and background checks by Utah's Division of Child and Family Services (DCSF) before being approved as foster parents earlier this year, KUTV reports.

However, the judge claimed there was research that proved children do better with straight parents than with same-sex parents.

The baby has lived with the lesbian couple for three months. Hoagland and Peirce planned to adopt her.

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"It hurts me really badly because I haven't done anything wrong," Hoagland told the news station.

Mandie Torgerson, a lawyer for the baby's biological mother, said that the judge didn't actually cite any specific research during his ruling, but he said there are "a myriad" of studies backing up the claim about straight parents. Torgerson plans to appeal the judge's ruling for her client.

"The mother has asked us to adopt," Hoagland told The Salt Lake Tribune.

"We love her and she loves us, and we haven't done anything wrong," Peirce added. "And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt."

The DCFS was given seven days by the judge's order to find the infant a new home.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton issued her support for the lesbian couple on Twitter on Nov. 11, writing, "Being a good parent has nothing to do with sexual orientation — thousands of families prove that."

On Nov. 12, the DCFS filed legal papers in an effort to block the judge's order to remove the baby, while Hoagland and Peirce's lawyer filed court papers to try to reverse the judge's decision, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah said that he was "puzzled" by the judge's order.

Sources: The Salt Lake Tribune (2), KUTV, Twitter / Photo Credit: KUTV Screenshot, Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune