Utah State Representative Christine
Johnson said Thursday she won't seek re-election, the Salt Lake
Johnson is the second openly gay
lawmaker to quit the Legislature in recent months.
“I'm not leaving because I'm giving
up on the fight in Utah,” Johnson told the paper. “We have so
many budding leaders [in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
community] that I'm anxious to see who's going to step up next.”
The Salt Lake City Democrat has served
two terms in the Utah House. She is a single mother and is currently
serving as a surrogate for a male gay couple, who've had a difficult
time adopting in the state.
Johnson, 41, brokered a compromise in
January that puts gay rights legislation – both for and against –
on the back burner for a year. Under the plan, Democrats agreed to
drop three previously publicized pro-gay bills in exchange for a
promise from opponents not to attempt to prevent local governments
from approving measures that outlaw employment and housing
discrimination during the current legislative session. Lawmakers who
favor gay rights said the compromise would protect the state's first
such law enacted late last year in Salt Lake City.
In December, openly gay Scott McCoy
abruptly resigned his Senate seat.
Last year, Johnson and McCoy were
instrumental in bringing a package of gay rights bills to the Utah
Legislature, which rebuffed all five bills.
McCoy said he wanted to focus his
attention on building his law practice.
Johnson said she would seek work as a
gay rights advocate outside of Utah.