A baby girl has been removed from her foster parents because of their sexuality.
April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce – from Utah – are married with two children. The pair had also been hoping to adopt the one-year-old girl they had been fostering for three months.
However, a judge has ordered the Department of Child and Family Services to remove the child from their care within seven days.
Judge Scott Johansen claimed various studies suggested children are better off being raised in a heterosexual households – but they feel the judge used the questionable evidence to force his religious beliefs upon them.
The couple say they are devastated by the ruling, especially as they have not done anything legally wrong.
“We are shattered,” Ms Hoagland told KUTV. “It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Ms Peirce echoed her wife’s sentiments, highlighting the fact that the judge had made his decision based on prejudice.
“He’s never been in our home, never spent time with the child in our home or our other children so he doesn’t know anything about this,” she added.
LGBT activists have rejected the decision, noting that recent studies prove that sexuality has no negative impact on a couple’s ability to raise a child – in fact, the opposite is often true.
“Removing a child from a loving home simply because the parents are LGBT is outrageous, shocking, and unjust,” said the president of The Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin.
“At a time when so many children in foster care need loving homes, it is sickening to think that a child would be taken from caring parents who planned to adopt.”
“It also flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that children being raised by same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents,” he added.
One such study by the University of Texas recently found that same-sex couples actually tend to invest more time in their children than their heterosexual counterparts.
The study – that was launched to tackle prejudice against same-sex parents – found that the difference is most pronounced in families with two mothers, where parents spend an average 40 per cent more time on child-centred activities.