PRICE, Utah -- A Utah judge who was criticized for ordering a nine-month-old girl from the home of a lesbian couple who were fostering the child has disqualified himself from the case.
"Foster parents in this case have moved the Court for an order to disqualify the Judge. While said foster parents are not a party to this action, a Motion to Intervene has been filed, which Motion to Intervene cannot be considered due to Motion to Disqualify. Nevertheless, the Court hereby disqualifies himself from this case and refers all pending matters to be assigned by the Presiding Judge," Juvenile Judge Scott N. Johansen wrote Monday in an order from the Seventh Judicial District Juvenile Court.
Johansen backed off his order Friday, allowing the child to remain with foster parents April Hoagland and Beckie Pierce.
In response to Johansen's recusal, Peirce and Hoagland released the following statement through LGBT advocacy group Equality Utah:
We are thankful that Judge Johansen has decided to step aside. Our greatest concern now is taking care of our beautiful baby foster daughter. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from people all across the nation. We are grateful that our family is now being treated equally under the law.”