Friday, November 13, 2015

Utah judge orders foster child removed from home of legally married lesbian couple

In eastern Utah, a juvenile court judge Scott Johansen ordered the removal of a foster child from the home of the legally married lesbian couple Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland. The couple is already raising Peirce’s two biological children.  The birth mother had approved the placement, but the judge claimed that the child would be better served in the home of a heterosexual couple.

The Washington Post has a story by Sandhya Somashekhar  looking at the situation in some states don’t treat gay couples as potential parents equally, despite the Supreme Court ruling in June on marriage.  Only seven states actually protect gay couples in foster care situations, and Mississippi still bars legally married gay couples from adopting, but this law is likely to be challenged successfully.  In Utah, foster care is treated as an accommodation, where discrimination is allowed for religious reasons or various other excuses.

Many observers feel that the couple could win if they sue in federal court, under the 14th amendment.
The parent issue is curious.  One complaint by social conservatives (well known in the 1990s) is that homosexuals burden families with children by not taking on the same risks and responsibilities and having more discretionary income and flexibility in the workplace.  The reasoning becomes oddly circular.

Picture: St. George, Utah, where I couldn’t get coffee in a Mormon-owned restaurant in 1981.  Picture by Nick Christensen. Wikipedia attribution link under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.5.  Second picture: Tornado damage in Tupelo, MS, my visit, May 2014.

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