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!