Rep. Christine Johnson will serve an additional role when the Utah Legislature convenes this month. The lesbian lawmaker announced she's a surrogate mother, carrying a baby for two gay men.
Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, said she decided to become artificially impregnated with sperm from one of the men after the two close friends expressed frustration over the difficulty of adopting a child.
Utah law prohibits unmarried couples from adopting and does not recognize gay marriage.
Johnson, 41, who has a 17-year-old daughter from a two-year marriage, is four months pregnant and expecting on June 21.
"I can very much empathize with their desire to become parents and share their lives with and open their hearts to a child," Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I'm immeasurably grateful to be a mother."
Johnson offered to be a surrogate at no cost to save the Salt Lake County men the prohibitive cost of hiring one — as much as $100,000. The men, who were married in California when gay marriage was legal, will pick up the medical costs. Johnson said she's aware that many lawmakers in conservative Utah think a child does best with both a mother and a father. She predicts the men will be "wonderful parents." "Gender or sexual orientation is less important than children being welcomed into a supportive, loving home," she told the Deseret News. "This child is going to have an amazing life."