File photo of a gay rights flag in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., by Michael Rowley/AFP/Getty Im...

Utah judge reverses order to take baby from lesbian couple

A Utah judge has reversed his decision to remove a baby from the care of her married lesbian foster parents, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Scott Johansen had issued an order this week to take the baby from the custody of April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce and said that the child would do better with a heterosexual family. The American Psychological Association has stated that there is “no scientific evidence” for this view, and recent research suggests children of same-sex parents may fare better than others.

The couple and Utah state officials filed a court challenge to the decision this week, and the new order, released Friday, will allow the baby to stay with them.

Hoagland and Peirce first became foster parents after a Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015 made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, and it is legal under Utah law for married same-sex couples to foster children. Johansen’s  order on Tuesday came after the couple had cared for the baby for three months.

There was strong national backlash to the decision. National gay rights groups, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Civil Liberties Union and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert all criticized the decision. “He may not like the law, but he should follow the law. We don’t want to have activism on the bench in any way, shape or form,” the governor said.