Did You Hear The One About The Anti-Gay Politician Secretly Donating Sperm to Lesbian Couples?

I don’t know if there are any man-folk out there reading this, but if you want to donate sperm to a lesbian couple, I think that’s really super double great. It’s particularly great if you’re donating out of support for the couple and if you and the couple have the same ideas about child involvement. Still, there are a few simple conditions you should meet:

+You should not have a problem with lesbians/gays raising kids/gay marriage
+You should inform your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/partner

This guy, Bill Johnson, missed the memo:


Johnson, a Republican who ran for Alabama governor in 2009 and is the former director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, has been secretly donating sperm to women in New Zealand. Johnson has been living alone in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand doing relief work since an earthquake in February. The New Zealand Herald received an anonymous tip that Johnson had, unbeknownst to his wife, donated sperm to at least six women, and begun talks with three more.

Johnson has not been donating within New Zealand’s regulated fertility clinics (perhaps because he is 52, above the age maximum), but instead meeting women online using the username “chchbill.” Though Johnson has discussed sperm donation with at least nine women, fertility clinics in New Zealand regulate donations to no more than five families. They recommend donation to no more than four. When asked about the donations, Johnson said that, though his wife had a hysterectomy, being a biological father was “a need that I have.”

Every person who is a father and a mother knows why I am doing this. If life’s circumstances had dealt me a different hand I wouldn’t be doing this. It is not the hand that life has dealt my wife…Reproduction and having children is as basic a human need as eating.

Johnson’s wife, Kathy, was a two-time Mrs. America finalist and is the mother of three children from a previous relationship. When she heard of the news, Kathy said that Johnson was “filled with love and laughter and desire to give to others.” She went on to tell reporters, “All of that is stripped away today. I feel silent and empty.”


Similarly, Johnson kept his life in America private from the women he donated to. He didn’t wear his wedding ring and told the women that his relationship status was “not an issue.” Though Johnson campaigned on a platform against gay rights in Alabama, at least one of the women pregnant by his sperm is a lesbian in a committed relationship. When the New Zealand Herald told her of Johnson’s past campaigning against same-sex marriage, she laughed and said, “We found Bill to be really nice. He’s a really supportive guy.” Though this implies that the woman’s partner had met Johnson, he maintains that he did not know the “relationship status” of any of the women. “I just know they want to have children,” he said. Johnson refused to answer any further questions regarding the sexual orientation or relationship status of the women who he donated to.

So, is this a guy with a God complex who thinks he needs to spread his seed across the holy land (the holy land of New Zealand?) or just another Republican whose behavior and personal life is inconsistent with his own values? I find it hard to believe Johnson could truly ideologically oppose gay rights if he thinks it’s fine for lesbian couples to raise children. Perhaps Johnson has some delusional idea that these women will let him father their children as they grow up. Johnson told the Herald, “I’ll be just as much a parent to them as [the mothers] want me to be, as I am to my own children.” Still I’m having a hard time blaming Johnson. I wonder if maybe his willingness to donate sperm to a lesbian couple isn’t a sign of previous political-personal inconsistency or even a desire to raise the child himself. Maybe instead, through his own desire for children, Johnson is now able to realize that gay couples don’t want children to support a gay brainwashing agenda, but to have loving, happy families.

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. Can I just say, when I read the herald this weekend I ignored this story and rolled my eyes. But Autostraddle writes about it, i’ll read it.

    • When I read this in the Herald I rolled my eyes and thought I can’t believe this super creepy guy is living in my city. I never thought I’d see it on AS though.
      Also, I’m pretty sure New Zealand is the actual holy land. I mean, we were the first country to give women the vote.

    • Same! My mum told me about this story, all excited like, and I pretty much went “pffft, Christchurch gossip who even cares” but then I saw it up here and it took on a whole new importance.

      • I think New Zealanders suffer sidekick syndrome. World famous in New Zealand, but forgotten by the rest of the world. Give us something that feels like international validation (being the coincidental location of an incidence of anti-gay hypocrisy thats written about on Autostraddle?) and we’re all ‘OMG! THEY KNOW WE EXIST!’

  2. I would just like to point out how heavily photoshopped that second image is. I am relatively certain that none of them were actually in that picture of the backyard. Not even the dog.
    Poor dog.

    • I prefer to believe that the complete lack of shadows in that picture is because they’re all floating a few feet above the ground. Because they’re aliens.

    • It makes you wonder what sort of incriminating information was in the original background, that it had to be replaced?

      • they were probably at a pride parade. nothing hurts a republican more than happy drag queens in the background.

    • Obviously, his family has never actually met him or spent any time being photographed together. Which is why he can parent random New Zealand sperm babies the same way that he parents his children.

  3. This story is just so WRONG on so many levels. First we have his patriarchal assumptions of his own biological superiority. Overlaying that is his two-facededness as a conservative (who presumably is both anti-gay-rights AND anti-single-mother). Plus he’s been painfully disingenuous to his wife and family. WHY??

    • The whole thing where he’s providing financial support for one of the women and wanted his family to move to NZ so he could be around to raise these kids is where it really hit a polygamist mormon level of creepiness for me. WTF.

  4. Ok, well a straight dude obsessed with the magic properties of his dick isn’t ~quite~ as bad as a straight dude obsessed with the magic properties of his dick who gets off on inserting his manly man-ness into lesbian partnerships. Which is what I thought he was when I started reading this.

    Anyways, he can go on all he likes about what he’s willing to do (or not do) as a parent, but it doesn’t really mean a lot since his willingness to create an undocumented network of donor-conceived siblings across the country to uniformed parents demonstrates that he doesn’t give a shit about the children beyond ensuring their existence.

  5. This raises a number of questions..

    1) what has this guy from Alabama been doing in Christchurch since the February earthquake and who is bankrolling him? “Relief work”, they say? :/

    2) how did the herald find the woman who happens to be carrying his spawn? Is there a list of his “conquests” floating around? .. who blew the whistle on him?

    3) did the lesbians not ask him indepth questions and do a background check? For all they know, he could be a sex offender..

    There’s something very deviant about an anti gay, conservative American politician, assisting the spermination of women (who aren’t his wife) & are lesbian.

    As a kiwi contemplating the process of spermination, this is kind of horrifying. This twistery does nothing to despel the belief that lesbians just want to obtain random sperm, with no thought to genetics, the wellbeing of the child, or its future. There’s already a shortage of people in NZ, who will ‘tick the box’ that allows their sperm to go to lesbians.

    I suspect this man will want (see: demand) further contact with his children, which puts these kids in the position of having a father indoctrinating them with an extremely conflicting viewpoint from their mother/s… Not cool.

  6. omg, my only thought was that he’s gonna take these poor women to court to get custody of the kids when they’re born. i get the vibe he would say he was swindled by the ‘bad lesbians’ and he just wants his kids back. *insert watery sob by johnson here*. what is wrong with people? the whole anit-gay governor secretly donating sperm to lesbians, kind of seems like he had a plan to let them have a baby, be a family, and them take the baby from them. or maybe im just cynical… you’d think people would be happy that there’s loving families out there that want to provide a good home for a child..

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