A Utah judge who ordered that a 9-month-old girl be removed from a lesbian couple’s home has now amended his ruling and scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing to determine where to place the child.
On Tuesday, Seventh District Juvenile Juvenile Court Judge Scott Johansen ordered that the child be removed from the home of April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce within seven days because he believed it was “not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples.”
The decision sparked national outrage, particularly since Utah state law hasn’t prohibited same-sex couples from adopting or fostering children since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right for them to marry in June.
Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert weighed in on Thursday, saying that he was puzzled by the order and that Johansen should “follow the law.”
“He may not like the law, but he should follow the law,” the governor said during a taping of his monthly news conference for Salt Lake City’s KUED Television. “We don’t want to have activism on the bench in any way, shape or form.”
Hoagland and Peirce, who live in Price, Utah, are licensed foster parents who have been married since October 2014, and have cared for the girl since August, along with two of Peirce’s biological children. They were found to be the most suitable parents for the child by Utah Division of Child and Family Services officials, who were shocked by the judge’s ruling and filed a petition of stay for the order on Thursday.
“This couple stood out and we felt they were an appropriate fit for this child,” DCFS director Brent Platt told PEOPLE. “The child is doing well with them, so why move her?”
The Tuesday decision stunned Hoagland, 38, a homemaker, and Peirce, 34, a paramedic, who had been asked by the girl’s mother to officially adopt her. “There’s a huge need for foster parents in our country,” Peirce told PEOPLE. “This is just blatant discrimination.”
The couple, who hired an attorney to help them fight to keep the child are now looking forward to another day in court.
“The judge doesn’t know this child – we love her,” Hoagland told PEOPLE. “We’ve proven that we’re fully capable of being her parents.”