Utah Judge Reverses Order To Remove Child From Lesbian Couple — For Now

Foster parents April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce are photographed on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015 in Salt Lake City. A judge who ordered that a baby be taken away from April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, her lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple should follow the law and not …
Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

Just three days after ruling that a baby be removed from foster care with a lesbian couple who wanted to adopt her, a Utah judge reversed his decision – possibly temporarily.

Judge Scott Johansen ordered Friday that the baby may stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce – a married lesbian couple – in foster care. However, his decision still leaves the possibility that he could order the child will be removed at a custody hearing on December 4.

According to KPTV.com, child welfare officials say the reversal could be temporary. Johansen said on Tuesday the baby should be removed within a week, but both Utah officials and the lesbian couple filed challenges to the order.

The judge said on Tuesday that he based his decision on research that indicated children fare better when raised by heterosexual parents, and that “same-sex marriages have double the rate of instability as heterosexual marriages,” according to the news report.

Johansen reportedly crossed out language in his old order and instead cited concerns about research indicating that children are more emotionally and mentally stable when raised by a mother and father in an intact family.

Ashley Sumner, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said the agency is cautiously optimistic that the new ruling will persevere.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but it’s not the final answer,” Sumner said.

The lesbian couple’s lawyer, Jim Hunnicutt, said, “These two people are excellent, wonderful parents. They love the child every much, and they are very optimistic that the child will remain in their care.”

He reportedly added he did not know what caused the judge to reverse his decision, but said that the prior ruling violated the Constitution and harmed the baby. Hunnicutt said his clients received an outpouring of support from around the country after the judge’s initial decision.

While the KPTV.com report cites the American Psychological Association’s brief that claims there is “no scientific basis that gay couples are unfit parents based on sexual orientation,” the report does not cite the significant research that refutes the APA’s claim.

As Breitbart News previously reported, an extensive study by sociologist Mark Regnerus – called the “New Family Structure Study” – found that children of homosexuals fared worse on 77 out of 80 outcome measures that compared children with same-sex parents to those from other family arrangements. Specifically, compared with children raised by married, biological parents, children of homosexual parents are more likely to be on public assistance, have lower educational attainment, and report both less safety in their childhood families and more continued “negative impact” from them. In addition, children of same-sex parents were found to more likely suffer from depression, to have been arrested more often, and to have had more male and female sexual partners if they are female.

For children of lesbian mothers, statistical significance in both direct comparisons and with control subjects was found in numerous areas in Regnerus’ research. Children of lesbian mothers were found to be four times more likely to be on welfare, more than three times more likely to be unemployed, nearly ten times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver,” and nearly four times as likely to have been “physically forced” to have sex against their will.

Loren Marks also conducted a study that showed the flawed analysis of the APA in its policy brief on same-sex parents. Marks concluded, “[N]ot one of the 59 studies referenced in the 2005 APA Brief compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children.”

Additionally, Marks observed that 55 of the studies analyzed by APA did not even “provide evidence of statistical power” in accord with APA’s own standards.

Research cited by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPEDS) also indicates that children need both a mother and father in order to experience healthy development.

“Given the current body of evidence, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on same-sex parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or reproductive manipulation,” the doctors say. “This position is rooted in the best available science.”


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