Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lesbian Utah State Lawmaker Steps Down, Cites Inequality

Excerpts of Lesbian Utah State Lawmaker Steps Down, Cites Inequality by Kilian Melloy
Friday Mar 5, 2010

Utah State Rep. Christine Johnson   
An openly lesbian member of the Utah House of Representatives says that she will be leaving state government come the end of this year.

"I'm not leaving because I'm giving up on the fight in Utah," said State Rep. Christine Johnson, a Democrat who has served two terms, reported the Salt Lake Tribune on March 4. "We have so many budding [GLBT] leaders that I'm anxious to see who's going to step up next."

Johnson took a swipe at the state legislature, saying in a statement that, "For the past four years, I have stood with my colleagues each morning of the session, placed my hand over my heart and pledged 'liberty and justice for all,' and yet repeatedly witnessed blatant disregard of those so in need of equal protections in the name of 'family values.' " Johnson added that "Utah is a better place when we suppress our entitled need to cast judgment on one another and instead respect the authenticity and free agency of each person."

The lawmaker's attempts to shepherd GLBT inclusive anti-discrimination bills into law have met defeat, the article said, but she succeeded in arranging for a cessation in anti-gay legislation--though at the cost of introducing or promoting pro-equality measures.

At the moment, there are two openly gay Utah lawmakers, a third having stepped down last year. When Johnson retires from her role in the house, only one gay lawmaker will be left, unless GLBT equality groups accomplish their stated goal of keeping Johnson's seat "a pro-LGBT seat," as Balken said her group hoped to do.

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