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Judge who ordered baby removed from lesbian couple’s home has retired

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 08:59:16-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A Price judge who ordered a child removed from a lesbian couple’s home and placed with a heterosexual couple has retired.

An announcement posted by the Utah State Office of the Courts revealed that 7th District Juvenile Court Judge Scott Johansen had retired, effective Jan. 1. The courts are seeking a replacement to oversee cases in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.

Johansen generated national headlines — and some criticism — last year when he ordered a 9-month-old girl to be removed from the home of April Hoagland and Beckie Pierce, a married couple who had become foster parents. Judge Johansen indicated that he had seen research that showed a child did better if raised by a heterosexual couple. All parties involved in the case, including Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services objected to the judge’s decision.

Governor Gary Herbert even weighed in on the situation, saying he believed the judge should “follow the law,” referring to court rulings that Utah recognize same-sex marriages.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office asked the judge to reconsider and he ultimately backed off his order. Johansen later recused himself from the case.