PRICE, UTAH – November 13, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah judge who ordered a married same-sex couple to give up their foster daughter because of their sexuality is backing off his order.
Judge Scott Johansen canceled his decision Friday morning and will allow Beckie Peirce, 34, and April Hoagland, 38, to keep the 1-year-old girl they planned to adopt. The order in the central Utah city of Price had raised concerns among the state’s child welfare agency.
“We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Peirce told the the Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”
The women, who are legally married and were approved as foster parents in Utah earlier this year, said they have raised the girl for about three months. The biological mother asked the women to adopt her. The ruling came during a hearing to terminate the biological mother’s parental rights.
Judge Johansen has two more hearings on the case scheduled in late November and early December.
This isn’t the first time Johansen has been in the public eye. In 1997, the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission reprimanded him for “demeaning the judicial office” after slapping a 16-year-old boy who became belligerent in court. In 2012, he famously ordered a woman to cut off her 13-year-old’s ponytail in court as punishment for the teen cutting the hair of a 3-year-old.
The most recent situation caught the attention of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, whose tweet was published by KUTV. The station also interviewed Hoagland and Peirce by way of Skype. To see KUTV’s interview, click on the video player below.