Utah judge Scott Johansen made headlines last week when he ordered that a 9-month-old baby girl be removed from the care of her foster parents because they were gay. April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce had been fostering the infant for three months while the state was working to transfer custody to the couple, when Johansen handed down his decision. The married couple had been asked to adopt the child by the birth mother. By the end of last week, Johnson had changed his mind and allowed the child to stay with the couple—temporarily. On Monday, with the pressure ratcheted up from all sides, Johansen recused himself from the case.
Here’s more from the AP:
April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce asked for the judge to be disqualified, saying that the decision revealed a potential bias that broke the rules of judicial conduct, their lawyer Jim Hunnicutt said. While Johansen disputed their legal standing to call for his removal, he nevertheless stepped aside nearly a week after the Nov. 10 order criticized by national gay rights groups, the state's Republican governor and others. The couple applauded Johansen's decision and said they're happy the family is being treated equally.
“A gay rights group has filed a complaint with state judicial officials, and the watchdog group Alliance for a Better Utah on Monday called for state lawmakers to impeach the judge,” the AP reports. “Johansen is barred from speaking about pending cases and a call to his publicly listed phone number went unanswered Monday.”