|Everyone seems to agree these two women make|
fine parents, except for one activist Utah judge, who
says gay people like them are always unfit as parents,
evidence be damned.
As I pretty much expected, the judge who ordered the baby taken away from this gay married couple reversed himself, at least temporarily.
Judge Scott Johansen came under withering attack for taking the kid away from the two female foster parents, who are hoping to adopt the baby.
The judge is now letting the couple keep the kid for now, but has scheduled a hearing on December 4, and he's still got lots of misgivings about placing the baby with a gay couple.
This despite the fact that the two women have demonstrated their competence at raising a kid.
And despite the fact that his ruling appears to violate Utah and national law.
Even the Republican governor of Utah criticized this judge.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign filed a formal complaint with the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission. We'll see where that goes.
Yesterday, a judge in Utah ordered a one year old girl be taken away from her foster parents within a week.
The foster parents weren't abusing the kid. They are a married couple. Financially stable. No history of violence, crime or weirdness. Routine investigations showed the baby girl was doing well in this household. She was thriving. She seemed healthy and well-adjusted. The foster parents were providing her everything she needed.
So what's the problem? Well, Utah 7th District Court Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen decided that the married couple in question are lesbians, they are unfit to parent because they are gay, says the Salt Lake Tribune in a story extensively picked up by other media.
Which means the girl, who by all accounts was well cared for and loved by April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, now faces an uncertain and unstable future in Utah's foster care system.
The judge didn't provide any facts to back up his claim that a household with same sex parents is dangerous to a child, but made a vague reference to "research."
Says the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Johansen did not provide specifics of that research in court despite questions from attorneys for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and the Guardian Ad Litem Office assigned to represent the child, Hoagland and Peirce said."
The studies the judge referred to might be from a widely discredited study by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, which said that children do more poorly with gay parents than with straight parents.
The Regnerus study was flawed, say experts, because of unreliable data or data that indicated the children in question were actually living with single parents or under different circumstances than with married, same sex parents.
Most other studies on the topic concluded that on average, children with gay parents do at least as well as those with straight parents.
According to Utah law, foster parents must be married couples or single individuals age 21 or older. They muset be U.S. citizes or permanent legal residents, they must pass background checks, must be financially stable, must be able to support their family without assistance from the state, they can't foster parent children and run a day care center at the same time, and must be healthy enough to care for the kids.
The Utah Division of Child and Family Services have reportedly investigated Hoagland and Peirce thoroughly, as they're supposed to do with every potential foster parent. The couple did just fine with the investigation and the child welfare agency supported the idea of the couple foster parenting the child.
Who, by the way, was to have eventually been adopted by Hoagland and Peirce. Which would have permanently given the baby girl a stable household where she could grow up to presumably be a nice stable adult.
According to the Tribune:
"'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.'"
Of course, there's a big outcry over Judge Johansen now, so maybe this will get fixed. I've heard criticism, especially from conservatives, over "activist judges" making up their own laws.
Still, it's unclear how an appeal, of possible, would work.
Johansen is a classic example of an activist judge. He ignores case law, and interjects his own religious beliefs.
Hey, if Johansen doesn't like gay people or the fact some are parents, fine, he can do that. But he has to apply the law as it is written.
As I noted, this judge appears to be willing to damage a child in the name of hating gays.
By the way, this judge has been pretty jerky in the past, too. He slapped a teenage boy in the courthouse back in 1997 and has ordered a woman to chop the ponytail off a 13 year old girl who had apparently misbehaved.
But the damage he caused this time is too much.
I just hope the judge isn't a foster parent.