Homophobic judge drops out of lesbian child foster case


Biased: Judge Scott Johansen

The Utah judge who tried to take a foster child away from a lesbian couple has bowed to pressure and removed himself from the case.

Judge Scott Johansen was slammed for ordering the removal of the nine-month-old baby from the home of April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce after he claimed that studies showed that children did better when raised by heterosexual families.

He later amended the order, allowing the child to remain with the women until the next hearing in December, before dropping out of the case entirely.

Johansen’s decision to step aside followed criticism that his ruling was based on personal bias, calls for his impeachment and a complaint filed with the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

“If Johansen ordered the child be removed because of the couple’s sexual orientation, it would be a clear violation of the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct, which expressly forbids it,” said the group.

Judge Johansen has already been previously disciplined by the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission for slapping a teenager in a meeting.

The couple welcomed the judge’s recusal, saying in a statement: “Our greatest concern now is taking care of our beautiful baby foster daughter.”

Hoagland and Peirce hope that the new judge assigned to their case will show less bias in their bid to adopt the little girl.

Both state social workers and the baby’s biological mother have supported the child’s adoption by the couple.

“Removing this child from a loving and permanent home based solely on the sexual orientation of its parents is not only discriminatory, but is also counter to the overwhelming evidence that children being raised by same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents,” commented HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

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