This is a sad day for Utah politics.
Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake, has announced her intentions to leave the state of Utah. The announcement appeared in today’s Daily Herald.
“To me, Utah doesn’t feel like home,” said Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, on Thursday.
Her announcement came as a surprise to many, but Johnson, an open lesbian carrying a surrogate baby for two gay men, said the state is well-equipped to keep up the fight for gay rights.
Johnson took heat from many in the gay community at the beginning of the legislative session for a deal she hammered out with Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, to have both sides put discrimination-related bills away for a year to see how an anti-discrimination ordinance works in Salt Lake City.
Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune of her disenchantment with the Utah Legislature:
"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,’ " she said in a statement, "and yet repeatedly witnessed blatant disregard of those so in need of equal protections in the name of ‘family values.’ "
This is the 2nd resignation in 3 months from a Utah politician representing the LGBT community. Former Utah Senator Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake District 2, Utah’s first openly gay senator, announced his resignation from politics on December 9, 2009.
Rep. Johnson honored Utah’s LGBT veterans at this press conference a few months ago where she announced a resolution on repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for LGBT citizens who wish to join the military.
The Hill, the LGBT community, and all citizens in Utah will miss Rep. Johnson’s fortitude, bravery, compassion and voice.
Read posts on Utah Legislature Watch involving Rep. Johnson here.
(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)