The Latest: Lesbian parents relieved they can keep baby

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 13, 2015 6:27 PM
The Latest: Lesbian parents relieved they can keep baby

PRICE, Utah (AP) — The latest on the custody of a Utah baby who had been ordered taken from her lesbian foster parents (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

A Utah lesbian couple says they are relieved after finding out they will be able to keep a baby girl they have been raising as foster parents.

The couple spoke Friday, hours after a judge reversed his ruling to take the 9-month-old child and place her with a heterosexual couple for her well-being.

April Hoagland said in Price, Utah, that she and her wife Beckie Peirce are grateful for the nationwide support their case received after Judge Scott Johansen ordered the baby removed.

National LGBT groups called the decision outrageous, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton brought attention to the case by Tweeting about it.

State officials and an attorney for the women filed court documents demanding the judge rescind his decision.

The judge reversed course but could still order the child removed at a Dec. 4 custody hearing.

2:50 p.m.

One of the nation's largest gay rights groups is filing a formal complaint against a Utah judge who initially ordered a baby to be taken from her lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple.

Judge Scott Johansen reversed his decision, but child welfare officials say it doesn't rule out the possibility that he could order the baby removed from April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce's home at a Dec. 4 custody hearing.

The Human Rights Campaign said Friday that it sent a complaint by mail to the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission alleging that Johansen discriminated against the couple based on sexual orientation.

The organization seeks a quick decision ahead of the custody hearing.

Judicial commission executive director Colin Winchester says he hasn't yet received the complaint. It can take up to eight months to review a complaint and make a decision.

___

12:20 p.m.

A lawyer for a Utah lesbian couple who are foster parents to a baby girl says they're happy a judge reversed his order to remove the child from their home and place her with a heterosexual couple.

Attorney Jim Hunnicutt said Friday that April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce are "excellent, wonderful parents" who love the 9-month-old girl very much.

Child welfare officials say Judge Scott Johansen's decision doesn't rule out the possibility that he could order the child removed from the home at a Dec. 4 custody hearing.

Hunnicutt says the couple is confident that they'll be able to keep the baby.

The attorney doesn't believe public outcry over the original decision changed the judge's mind. He thinks Johansen reversed his order after reviewing the law and realizing he made a mistake.

___

11:40 a.m.

Utah's child welfare agency is applauding a judge's decision to allow a baby to stay with her lesbian foster parents, but officials say that order could be temporary.

Ashley Sumner, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said a revised order by Judge Scott Johansen means the agency won't have to pull the 9-month-old baby from April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce's home next week, as originally ordered.

Sumner says Johansen's decision, which was released Friday, doesn't rule out the possibility that he could order the child removed from the home after a custody hearing scheduled for Dec. 4.

She says child welfare officials are working to keep the family together and hope that the public outcry surrounding the case sends a strong message to the judge.

___

10:50 a.m.

A Utah judge has reversed his decision to take a baby away from her lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple after widespread backlash.

Court officials on Friday released an order signed by Judge Scott Johansen that will allow the 9-month-old baby to stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce.

It comes after Johansen said in court Tuesday that the baby would be removed from the couple's home. Utah officials and the couple filed court challenges demanding the judge rescind the order.

In his first decision, Johansen cited research that shows children do better when raised by heterosexual families. However, the American Psychological Association has said there's no scientific basis that gay couples are unfit parents based on sexual orientation.