Surrogate mothers often try to remain out of the spotlight, but Christine Johnson’s job makes that hard. Johnson is a representative in the Utah Legislature.
She also happens to be a lesbian carrying a baby for two gay men in a committed relationship.
Johnson shared the story of her decision to go public with the Salt Lake Tribune last week, explaining the strict rules on adoption in her state have forced gay couples down this route. Currently adoption is forbidden to unmarried couples cohabitating in the state of Utah – and with gay marriage banned in the state, gay couples are in a Catch 22.
They can’t get married, hence they can’t adopt.
So Johnson, a mom to a teenager from a previous heterosexual relationship (with an ex-husband) has been impregnated with the sperm of one of the men. He will have rights as the biological father of the child, so Utah’s current restrictions won’t apply to him. His partner won’t be able to legally adopt the child, but they’ve decided this is the closest they can come.
Johnson, whose bill sponsorship in the Utah state legislature includes a Joint Resolution Urging an End to the U.S. Military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, has served on the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission and Equality Utah. Open about her sexuality, Johnson has managed to secure a second term (with hopes for a third) in conservative Utah. The reaction from the other members of the legislature to her pregnancy has been surprisingly positive. Pregnancy for lawmakers is rare in and of itself – she’s the first in recent memory in Utah’s state government – and the conservative lawmakers have been excited on her behalf.
Even her status as out about her surrogacy – in part to make a point, in part because it’s unavoidable as a public figure not to explain her pregnancy – has been figured out. The baby will be aware of Johnson’s status in his or her life, and Johnson intends to be an involved aunt.
And maybe that aunt will be the one who finally makes Daddy number 2 a legal part of his/her life?
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