For all the complaints we hear from conservatives about judicial activism, what are we to think? Yet for all the jokes we might make about Utah, all eyes turn to the Beehive State. This week a juvenile court judge ignored the will of a birth mother, the recommendations of the state’s Division of Child and Family Services, the office of the Guardian Ad Litem, and, as near as anyone can tell, Utah statute when he ordered a nine month-old removed from the home of certified foster parents April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce because he alleges scientific data that he will not provide demonstrates children will fare better under heterosexual parents.
The State of Utah does not seem inclined to agree, and is fighting back:
Utah state officials are challenging a decision made by a Utah judge to a take a baby away from lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple for the child’s well-being.
Utah Division of Child and Family Services officials said Thursday in a statement that they will fight the ruling at the appeals court if Judge Scott Johansen doesn’t rescind his decision.
The state agency said the judge went against its recommendation that the 9-month old baby should stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple in Price, Utah.
In his decision, Johansen mentioned research that shows children do better when raised by heterosexual families, state officials said. However, the American Psychological Association has said there’s no scientific basis for believing that gays and lesbians are unfit parents based on sexual orientation.
Ben Winslow of FOX affiliate KSTU reported yesterday that Gov. Gary Herbert (R) made his feelings clear:
Utah Governor Gary Herbert said he believes a Price judge who ordered a foster child removed from the home of a same-sex couple because he believed the girl would be better in a heterosexual household ought to “follow the law.”
“I’m a little puzzled by the action down there personally,” Herbert told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED.
“I expect the court and the judge to follow the law. He may not like the law, but he should follow the law. We don’t want to have activism on the bench in any way, shape or form. Laws, sometimes people don’t like, but the judge should not interject his own personal beliefs and feelings and supersede the law,” Herbert said.
Additionally, the FOX 13 report notes, the state Attorney General’s Office, in its role representing DCFS, is already reviewing Judge Johansen’s order.
Utah will stand the line.
We are grateful, and can only wish the Beehive State our best during this difficult time.
Thank you. Good luck.
McCombs, Brady and Michelle L. Price. “Utah to challenge order to take baby from lesbians”. Associated Press. 12 November 2015.
Winslow, Ben. “Utah governor says judge who ordered child removed from same-sex couple should ‘follow the law'”. KSTU. 12 November 2015./p>