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So very often those of us in the little blue dot that is the progressive sphere of Utah have to defend our state against those who think we are all a bunch of republican losers. Well this story should put that idea to bed for awhile. Christine Johnson (D), a state representative who is featured today in a trib story is pregnant! Congrats to Christine you might think, but what's the big deal. Women in utah are always having babies!

Well, follow me over the jump to learn that Christine is having the baby for good friends of hers. A gay couple that cannot adopt, but want to have a loving family of their own.

In April, Johnson offered to be a surrogate for the Salt Lake County couple, her close friends, after they expressed frustration with the difficulty of adopting a child in Utah. State law forbids cohabiting, unmarried couples from adopting. But some gay couples venture to other states or try to adopt in Utah as single parents.

Now this is unique a story enough for utah. However, there are several other important components to this story.

First has been the response from her co-workers in the legislature. Bear in mind that not only is Christine a lesbian, but she is a single mother, and she lives in Utah. And now she is pregnant with another couples' baby. And they are gay. Think what you will about the whole prop 8 debacle, but the response that she has received is really heartening to see. We learn of this action from the trib story linked above

"Not only am I a single mother who's pregnant," Johnson says, "but I'm also a lesbian mother who is pregnant and having a baby for two gay men. That might be startling to some."
But she says she has not had any "negative feedback" from anyone in the Legislature. In fact, a conservative colleague, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, recently brought her eggs from his own chickens.
"He thought it would be nutritious for the baby," she says. "The cultural excitement that we feel about the arrival of a new baby has not been denied to me at all. Everyone has been very gracious."

The second thing that is springing from this is the new legislation that will be brought to the floor this legislative session. The father of the baby is one of the men of the couple for whom the baby is for. However, that means the other partner won't have any legal rights to the child. However, Christine's friend and colleague, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, is introducing a bill to

to offer a legal fix to the new fathers. It's a long shot, but she is running a bill that would amend Utah adoption law to allow for second-parent adoptions: cases in which a child's biological parent wants an unmarried partner to be the second, adoptive parent.

In addition, Christine will also try to pass a statewide bill, an extension of one for salt lake county, that would provide a statewide ban on discrimination in either housing or jobs based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  So that's cool.

And finally, another thing that really made me happy about this story was the rating at the bottom of the story. At the time of the writing of this diary, the poll was positively rated by +77 votes. Now i will  warn you, reading the comments would mostly be chilling because  trib stories often draw out the wing nuts. But it was good to see that the rational had so far outvoted the lunatic fringe. So that's today's good news from Utah!

OH! by the way, Christine and Rebecca are up for re-election this year. Here are there ActBlue pages if you are so compelled!

actblue for christine johnson

actblue for rebecca chavez-houck

Originally posted to UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 09:49 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for a bluer utah! (28+ / 0-)

    we're trying. really!

    "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

    by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 09:49:52 AM PST

  •  my gay cousin & his partner moved to Utah... (7+ / 0-)

    and we were all surprised to hear they felt perfectly comfortable & welcome there -- we all assumed they'd be greeted with dirty looks and pitchforks

    they eventually moved back to southern california because they missed california

    PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

    by RumsfeldResign on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:10:31 AM PST

  •  Nice! I had to look up what a "clementine" was. (4+ / 0-)

    This is just another example of how, even in the reddest of red areas, there are fighters for progress.

    Just as we stopped burning people at the stake, just as we stopped beating people who had appendicitis to "drive the devils out of them", we will win with people like Christine Johnson and Rebecca Chavez-Houck fighting with us.

    The work goes on.

    All evil needs to succeed is for good people to say "the votes aren't there in the Senate."

    by Jacques on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:16:55 AM PST

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, UTvoter

    I'm confused.

    Aren't the STRAIGHT non-biological parents of partners permitted to adopt their children?

    And if they are, why would any state law that forbids the same for the NON-STRAIGHT partners be patently unconstitutional under article 14?

    I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

    by GayIthacan on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:18:03 AM PST

    •  FL courts have considered that, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, UTvoter

      and found the law constitutional, IIRC.  Not saying they're right, of course (they're not, let me clear), but the reasoning of the opposition would be found in those decisions.

      (to reiterate: bans on gay adoption are among the most heinous laws passed since Jim Crow)

      Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

      by burrow owl on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:23:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  apparently in Utah, you need to be married. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HPrefugee

      so not even the straight partners can adopt them if they aren't married. i think. i'll confirm.

      "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

      by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:32:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Utah has gotten (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Utahrd, UTvoter

        a well deserved black eye for some of its adoption practices, in particular, for licensing and tolerating baby-sellers who defraud women out of their children, and for failing to enforce the interstate compact on the placement of children.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:40:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, i was trying to look on the bright side, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk

          but you are correct. we have our problems. hopefully with a better legislature, some will be solved.

          "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

          by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:43:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe this legislator (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UTvoter

            will be the one to file the bill that cleans things up.  She's clearly someone who has an appreciation of why it's important.

            If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

            by marykk on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:44:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UTvoter

        Thanks for doing this. I know it takes extra effort. :(

        I can;t understand how such a blatantly unconstitutional law could survive in Florida.

        Oh wait - yes I can. :(

        I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

        by GayIthacan on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:43:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  unmarried straight couples apparently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HPrefugee

          can't either

          Details: Utah law states that "A child may not be adopted by a person who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the laws of this state.  For purposes of this subsection . . . "cohabiting" means residing with another person and being involved in a sexual relationship with that person" (UTAH CODE ANN. § 78-30-1(3)).

          teh stupid law

          "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

          by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:56:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UTvoter

            Thanks.

            At least Utah is consistent in their backward-thinking. They get props for that.

            Here's hoping the child is healthy and happy! Sounds like it has more than enough love from the adults in it slife. [clap]

            I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

            by GayIthacan on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:59:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  We're trying in SC, too. (4+ / 0-)

    I hope someday to be able to relate such a fine story! Thank you, UTvoter!

    And congratulations to Christine Johnson and the new parents-to-be!

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

    by BeninSC on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:22:20 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this story. (4+ / 0-)

    I know I will be accused of whining, butit would even be cooler to include "gender identity" along with "sexual identity" (by which I imagine "sexual orientation" is meant) to those anti-discrimination bills.

  •  second parent adoption (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, marykk, UTvoter

    A friend of mine did a second parent adoption in Utah about 15 years ago. I was pretty surprised how smoothly it went, but live and learn.

    •  Goes easily in Illinois, too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UTvoter

      at least in Cook County.  It's not statutory, but there's an appellate court case that allows it.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:41:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chris Buttars and Christine Johnson to Co-Sponsor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter

    Politics is once again making some very strange bedfellows. A senator once outspoken against homosexuality is teaming up with an openly gay lawmaker to ban discrimination.

    West Jordan Republican Chris Buttars said earlier this fall he would consider sponsoring an anti-discrimination bill after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke out in support of two ordinances to that effect in Salt Lake City.

    But now Buttars is in talks to co-sponsor legislation being introduced by Salt Lake Democrat Christine Johnson, an openly gay representative.

    Equality Utah sees the news as something of a victory.

    "LGBT people are people," says executive director Brandie Balken, "and they deserve the same basic protections and access under the law as the rest of the citizens of Utah deserve."

    She says it's a wonderful development to get the backing of a prominent Republican, a positive step toward getting other gay rights legislation introduced if not approved.

    "I think that we may get a lot more traction in the legislative session this year if we can actually get a Republican co-sponsor in the Senate, versus someone just running it in the House," she says.

    Rep. Johnson's bill would roughly mirror the Salt Lake City anti-discrimination ordinances approved in November. They forbid eviction or firing of someone based on their sexual orientation, extending protections already afforded on the basis of other categories such as religion, gender, ability and color.

    Just a week after those ordinances were approved by the Salt Lake City Council, Sen. Buttars said he would consider sponsoring legislation allowing other local governments to follow suit, but going on to say he wasn't interested in going beyond housing and employment rights, nor was he bending on his stance against gay marriage.

    The bill that will be introduced by Rep. Johnson will mark the third time the democrat has tried to get such a bill passed, but the first time she's had the support, let alone the co-sponsorship, of any prominent republican.

    Sen. Buttars came under fire earlier in 2009 for remarks on a taped interview suggesting that gays lack morals and pose a threat to security.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:48:28 AM PST

    •  bipartisanship can sometimes work to our (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marabout40

      benefit. this is even more remarkable given Buttars past history.He is not the most beloved of legislators!

      "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

      by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:51:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Utah's 1st black woman mayor takes office (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, marabout40, UTvoter, HPrefugee

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah (AP) -- Utah's first black woman mayor has taken office.

    Mia B. Love thanked those who helped her become Saratoga Springs new mayor as she took the oath of office before a crowd of more than 120 people Friday night.

    She replaced longtime Mayor Timothy Parker, who stepped down after a decade in office.

    He says the city's in good hands with Love at the helm and expects a smooth transition because Love previously served for six years on the City Council.

    http://www.ksl.com/...

    There are black people in Utah?

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:54:18 AM PST

    •  see! another stereotype about utah bites the dust (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marabout40

      she's a republican. so we'll see how that goes.

      "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

      by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:57:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This isn't just Utah. This is Happy Valley (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marabout40, UTvoter, HPrefugee

        Saratoga Springs isn't the People's Republic of Park City or The Avenues or one of Utah's blue dots.

        Saratoga Springs is in Utah County, home of BYU and Clinton impeachment manager Chris Cannon.

        But on the other hand, Utah County also has a cool dinosaur museum that is free of any creationist nonsense and has displays that show that the earth is billions of years hold.  It's pretty close to Saratoga Springs.

  •  Nice story, thanks, just curious: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter

    This law:

    State law forbids cohabiting, unmarried couples from adopting.

    Does it specify the marriage must be recognized in Utah? Just curious if there's a work-around, via IA, VT, etc... Or a potential route to a court challenge.

    (I'm getting a little more on board with the idea that the GLBT community might do well to clog the courts with every possible court challenge we can muster, win or lose.)

    Reelect New York's Marriage Equality heroes. Give thanks here.

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:11:33 AM PST

    •  my guess is no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clarknt67

      in 1995:

      Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R) signs into law the first state Defense of Marriage statute, which stipulates that Utah does not have to recognize out-of-state marriages that violate state public policy. (March)

      link

      "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

      by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:20:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  John Amaechi (sp?) loved it here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, UTvoter

    The first (?) openly gay NBA player John Amaechi said he loved playing for the Jazz.

    But he left as soon as his contract was up & he didn't publicly discuss his lifestyle until after he retired.

    •  hm, (0+ / 0-)

      I read the book and also heard him speak.  He couldn't stand Jerry Sloan and apparently got a lot of crap about his political views from -- I'm not sure -- owners and other players (along the lines of, "you hate white people", against his opposition to the war, etc.).  He's happy with his psychology practice.  

      The book is great, I highly recommend.

      Please consider that sexual orientation is not a "lifestyle".  The correct term is sexual orientation.  Lifestyle refers to factors like petowner, rent or own a home, etc.

      What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

      by sberel on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 02:54:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a beautiful story! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heiuan, UTvoter, HPrefugee

    I once worked taking orders in a flower shop and had the opportunity to take an order for a gay couple who were sending flowers for birth mothers day.  When I said I had not heard of it the gentleman told me all about how he and his partner were promoting it and the wonderful lady who had given them their daughter.  We need more stories like this to counteract the other kind.  Kind of like noting the progress that is being made.

    That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

    by stevie avebury on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 12:27:01 PM PST

    •  i know! it is a lovely story for these troubled (0+ / 0-)

      times. and it could have turned out a lot worse, given the perspective of some here in the state.

      "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

      by UTvoter on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 05:31:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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