A former Alabama gubernatorial candidate and staunch opponent of gay marriage has reportedly been donating sperm to women in New Zealand–some of whom were lesbian couples.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Bill Johnson, a conservative Republican who unsuccessfully campaigned for the governor’s spot in 2010, used an online alias, advertising his “services” to couples who were unable to conceive on their own.
Johnson allegedly met with at least 9 women who received sperm donations from him, 3 of whom are now pregnant. At least one of those couples were lesbian couples.
“When I married (my wife) I knew we couldn’t have any more children,” Johnson told the Herald, acknowledging that he donated sperm because “having children of my own was a need that I have.”
The Birmingham native has been in Christchurch, New Zealand since this spring, helping with earthquake relief efforts.
The newspaper says it spoke with Johnson while he was dining with one of the women he helped impregnate, saying “There is nothing my wife would want to give me more in the world than a child of my own.” The couple, who have been married 8 years, are unable to have their own children because Johnson’s wife, Kathy, has had a hysterectomy.
Kathy Johnson, a former two-time Miss Alabama and Miss America Finalist, was not as supportive of her husband’s decision, telling the paper “My heart is broken.”
“He assured me I was everything he wanted and my children would be his,” she told the paper.
Kathy Johnson has three children from a previous marriage.
“My heart is broken,” she said. “I have no idea what life holds for us in the coming days.”
When Johnson was asked whether his wife knew about the sperm donations, Johnson replied simple: “she does now.”
After the initial story broke, Johnson claims the paper used unethical and illegal tactics, including phone and internet hacking. The paper claims it received an “anonymous” tip via email.
The two Johnson’s both have long histories working in state government and charity organizations.
Bill was a former Birmingham City Councilman, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and an education advocate for the company Ceres Environmental, who is helping rebuild Christchurch and Haiti after devastating quakes there.
His wife, along with her pageant career, has directed organizations including The Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen pregnancy, Children First Foundation and the Alabama Broadband Initiative, as well as working for the state finance department as a public affairs director.
One lesbian couple, who are now pregnant, said that Johnson gave them permission to come forward with their story. Johnson did not respond directly whether his feelings on gay marriage had changed or whether he felt same-sex couples should be allowed to raise children.
The paper also asserts Johnson could face trouble in New Zealand, as state law only allows one donor to provide sperm to no more than 4 families. It is also unclear whether Johnson followed that countries guidelines on private-party assisted pregnancy.