Tag Archives: moms

Utah reviewing judge’s order removing baby from home of lesbian parents

Utah state child welfare officials are reviewing a ruling by a juvenile court judge who ordered a baby to be taken from lesbian foster parents and instead placed with a heterosexual couple for the child’s well-being.

Judge Scott Johansen’s order earlier this week in the central Utah city of Price raised concerns at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, agency spokeswoman Ashley Sumner said.

Its attorneys plan to review the decision and determine what options they have to possibly challenge the order.

The ruling came during a routine hearing for April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce. They are part of a group of same-sex married couples who were allowed to become foster parents in Utah after last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country, Sumner said.

Attempts to reach Hoagland and Peirce on Wednesday were unsuccessful, but the couple told KUTV (http://bit.ly/1Sjph1o) that they are distraught after the ruling that calls for the baby girl they have been raising for three months to be taken away within a week.

They said Johansen cited research that children do better when they are raised by heterosexual couples. Hoagland believes the judge actually imposed his religious beliefs.

“We are shattered,” she told the Salt Lake City TV station. “It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”

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

A full transcript of his 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, Sumner said.

Sumner said she can’t speak to specifics of the case but confirmed that the couple’s account of the ruling is accurate – the judge’s decision was based on the couple being lesbians. The agency isn’t aware of any other issues with their performance as foster parents.

The agency is tasked with trying to keep children with one family as long as the parents are providing adequate care.

All couples are screened before becoming foster parents.

“We just want sharing, loving families for these kids,” Sumner said. “We don’t really care what that looks like.”

The ruling triggered a heated response from the Human Rights Campaign. The LGBT rights group called the order shocking, outrageous and unjust.

Oregon test: soy engineered for heavy pesticide exposure found in infant formula

The Center for Food Safety says genetic testing confirmed the presence of soy genetically engineered by Monsanto for heavy pesticide exposure in infant formula that is being sold in Portland, Oregon. The organization announced the test results on Food Day 2014 and in advance of a vote in Oregon on whether to label genetically engineered foods.

CFS and Dr. Ray Seidler, the first EPA scientist to study genetically engineered crops and former professor at Oregon State University, worked together on carrying out the testing. With recent published studies confirming that genetically engineered soy has significantly higher levels of chemical herbicides than conventionally grown soy, the test findings raise concerns about increasing infant exposure to chemical herbicides.

The testing follows up on a recent nationwide study by Consumer Reports finding genetically engineered ingredients in more than 80 common food products.

“I think most moms purchasing infant formula have no idea they are feeding their baby a product that has been genetically engineered to survive exposure to high levels of chemical pesticides,” Aurora Paulsen with Center for Food Safety’s Portland office said in a statement. “It’s no surprise that Monsanto is the top donor opposing Measure 92 which would give Oregonians the ability to know what foods have been genetically engineered. The presence of these products in infant formula being sold in Oregon really highlights the need for basic labeling.”

Seidler said, “Everything we know from the recent medical literature suggests we should be doing everything possible to reduce infant exposure to chemicals.  Finding soy in infant formula that has been genetically engineered specifically to survive high levels of chemical pesticide spraying is a real concern and takes us in the wrong direction.”

Genetic tests were conducted on three brands of infant formula bought at the Fred Meyer in Portland. Two products that tested positive for genetically engineered soy included Similac Soy Isomil and Enfamil Prosobee Powder Soy Infant Formula. Both products tested positive for Monsanto’s genetically engineered soy that is engineered to tolerate spraying with the herbicide glyphosate, as well as, Liberty Link soy that has been genetically engineered by Bayer Crop Sciences to tolerate spraying with the herbicide glufosinate.

Target asks customers to leave firearms at home

The retail giant Target on July 2 asked customers to not bring firearms to its stores.

The announcement made on a company blog was from interim CEO John Mulligan, who has been the focus of a petition drive coordinated by a grassroots group of moms opposed to people carrying guns in a store where adult shoppers often are accompanied by children.

Mulligan’s statement said:

“The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.

“As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit ‘open carry’ should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target — even in communities where it is permitted by law.

“We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.

“This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which collected nearly 400,000 signatures on a petition, applauded Target’s decision. The group said it “introduced the campaign after gun extremists carrying loaded assault rifles frequently gathered in Target stores to demonstrate in support of open carry laws.”

Editor’s note: This story is developing.


Iowa Supreme Court rules for lesbian parents

The Iowa Supreme Court, Varnum v. Brien, today ruled that same-sex couples and their families must be treated equally under Iowa law and ordered the Iowa Department of Public Health to provide an accurate two-parent birth certificate to all children born to lesbian married parents in Iowa.

The court was unanimous in ordering the state to treat children of lesbian couples as having two parents at birth.

“By naming the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple’s child, the child is ensured support from that parent and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth. Therefore, the only explanation for not listing the nonbirthing lesbian spouse on the birth certificate is stereotype or prejudice,” the court said.

Camila Taylor of Lamba Legal, which argued the case, stated, “We take for granted that a husband is the father of a child born to his wife through reproductive technology – regardless of whether he is his child’s genetic parent. The same marital protection for both parents’ relationships to their child holds true for same-sex couples and their children. This is great news for the Gartner family and for the long list of children who have been born to married same-sex parents since 2009 and who have been waiting for a two-parent birth certificate that reflects their family.”

Iowa, according to Lambda, now joins every other state that permits same-sex couples to marry, enter into civil unions, or enter comprehensive domestic partnerships, in issuing birth certificates to children of same-sex couples in a legal relationship on the same terms as to children of married different-sex couples.

The Lambda case involved Mackenzie Gartner, who was born in September 2009, and moms Heather and Melissa Gartner, a lesbian couple who legally married in Iowa before Mackenzie was born. After receiving a birth certificate that listed Heather as the only parent, the couple requested a corrected birth certificate listing both spouses as Mackenzie’s parents.

Iowa’s Department of Public Health denied the request on the ground that Melissa is not Mackenzie’s genetic parent. However, Iowa law establishes that a child born to married parents is the legitimate child of both spouses regardless of genetic relationship, and requires the IDPH to list both spouses as parents on the birth certificate accordingly.

In May 2010, Lambda sued on behalf of Mackenzie Gartner.

In January 2012, the Iowa District Court for Polk County ordered the IDPH to issue an accurate birth certificate to Mackenzie, which it did while also appealing that court’s decision.

“We are both thrilled and relieved. We just want our child to have the same respect and treatment that every other child born to married parents receives, and now we can move forward,” said Heather Gartner in a news release from Lambda.

Study: Teenagers with lesbian moms as happy as peers

The quality of life of 17-year-olds reared in lesbian-parent families does not differ from that of adolescents who grew up in heterosexual-parent families, according to a new study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

“Consistently, over the past three decades, researchers have found that the daughters and sons of same-sex parents are psychologically well-adjusted. And now our new data demonstrate that 17-year-olds raised from birth by lesbian mothers are as happy as their peers,” said lead author Loes van Gelderen of the University of Amsterdam.

The study also found that among teens with lesbian mothers, no difference in quality of life based on donor status (whether they had been conceived by known or unknown donors), experienced stigmatization (whether or not they had experienced discrimination) or maternal relationship continuity (whether their mothers were still together or had separated).

“The favorable outcomes for these adolescents are a reflection of good parenting by mothers who prepared their daughters and sons for the prospect of adversity,” said investigator Nanette Gartrell of the Williams Institute.

In the “Quality of Life of Adolescents Raised From Birth by Lesbian Mothers” study, 78 17-year-olds with lesbian mothers were matched on gender, age, parental education and ethnic background with adolescents in heterosexual-parent families that were drawn from a representative statewide sample.  The adolescents in both groups gave a numerical score, from zero to 10, to each of a series of statements such as, “I feel I’m getting along with my parents/guardians,” “I look forward to the future,” and ”I feel good about myself.”

The adolescents with lesbian mothers responded generally in the same way as the teenagers with heterosexual parents.

The data in the new report comes from adolescents whose families are participants in the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, the longest-running and largest prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States. Initiated by Gartrell in 1986, the NLLFS examines the social, psychological, and emotional development of the children as well as the dynamics of planned lesbian families. 

Report: lesbian families have zero rate of child abuse

Researchers at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute reported that a 24-year study of American lesbian families found a zero rate of child abuse.

While 26 percent of adolescents in the U.S. report parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3 percent report sexual abuse, none of the 78 children of lesbian moms studied reported incidents of either.

Researchers also found the children of lesbians are on average more open and well-adjusted.

The study found that the same percentage of children raised by lesbians grow up to be gay as in the larger population. Although they begin having sex significantly later than their peers, lesbians’ kids are more open to same-sex experimentation as adolescents.

Although lesbian moms separate at a higher rate than heterosexual couples, they’re better divorced parents too, researchers said. Lesbian moms share child custody at greater rates and their children don’t show signs of trauma at the same level as the children of straight divorced parents.

The researchers concluded that lesbian parents represent a kind of paradigm of family values and create homes that are free of violence. What seems to make these homes safer for children, researchers said, is the absence of straight men, who are the main physical and sexual abusers of children.