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Utah judge retires after criticism in lesbian foster parent case

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah judge who had ordered a baby girl taken away from her lesbian foster parentsand placed with a heterosexual couple has retired.

Court officials announced Monday that juvenile court Judge Scott Johansen retired on Jan. 1.

Utah judge orders baby removed from lesbian f... 01:48

Johansen faced widespread criticism and calls for his impeachment after he ordered a 9-month-old baby taken from the home of April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce on Nov. 10. He later reversed the ruling and recused himself.

Hoagland and Peirce told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans in November that the judge ignored pleas from the baby's biological mother to grant them custody. They believed the judge, a bishop in the Mormon church, imposed his religious beliefs over the law. The couple, legally married in Utah, planned to adopt the child.

"This is all about sexual orientation, not what is best for the child," Peirce had said.

"He has no other grounds but that," Hoagland had added.

Utah lesbian couple fights to keep foster chi... 02:08

In his initial decision, Johansen mentioned research showing children do better when raised by heterosexual families. The American Psychological Association, however, has said there's no scientific basis for believing that gays and lesbians are unfit parents based on sexual orientation.

He did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Monday.

He was appointed in 1992 to the bench in Price, about 120 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Johansen was reprimanded in 1995 when he slapped a 16-year-old boy in his chambers. A woman also complained when he told her to chop off her daughter's ponytail in court three years ago.

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