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Utah to Fight Ruling That Removed Foster Child From Lesbian Couple

Same-sex couple fighting after Utah judge orders foster child removed 2:21

Utah state officials are challenging a decision made by a Utah judge to a take a baby away from lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple for the child's well-being.

Utah Division of Child and Family Services officials said Thursday in a statement that they will fight the ruling at the appeals court if Judge Scott Johansen doesn't rescind his decision.

The state agency said the judge went against its recommendation that the 9-month old baby should stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple in Price, Utah.

In his decision, Johansen mentioned research that shows children do better when raised by heterosexual families, state officials said. However, the American Psychological Association has said there's no scientific basis for believing that gays and lesbians are unfit parents based on sexual orientation.

A full transcript of the ruling has not been made public and may not be because court records of cases involving foster children are kept private to protect the kids.

Judge Orders Foster Child Removed From Gay Couple's Custody 0:56

Johansen is precluded by judicial rules from discussing pending cases, Utah courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said.

The decision has generated widespread criticism, including from national LGBT groups and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Herbert said Thursday that Johansen should follow the law and not inject his personal beliefs into the decision.

The state's Republican governor told reporters that he is puzzled by Judge Scott Johansen's ruling. "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.

Herbert added that the judge should not "inject his own personal beliefs and feelings in superseding the law." The ruling came during a routine hearing Tuesday for the couple in the central Utah city of Price.