Viciously anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Mike Johnson elected as new House Speaker

Rep. Mike Johnson
Rep. Mike Johnson Photo: U.S. House

House Republicans have elected anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as the new U.S. House Speaker. In a Wednesday afternoon vote, he received three votes above the 217 threshold needed to assume the role. He was the fourth candidate for the position, following the failed nominations of Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Tom Emmer (R-MN).

In response to Johnson’s election, out gay Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus condemned House Republicans, stating, “Extreme MAGA Republicans elected a Speaker who has dedicated his career to attacking LGBTQI+ people and pushing an anti-equality agenda… The House has already taken more than 10 anti-equality votes this Congress. By electing Mike Johnson—a vehement opponent of LGBTQI+ equality—as Speaker, his supporters have signaled they want these attacks against our community to continue.”

A statement issued by Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said, “The MAGA House majority has selected the most anti-equality Speaker in U.S. history by elevating Mike Johnson — this is a choice that will be a stain on the record of everyone who voted for him.”

“Johnson is someone who doesn’t hesitate to express his disdain for the LGTBQ+ community from the rooftops and then introduces legislation that seeks to erase us from society,” Robinson added. “Just like Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson is an election-denying, anti-LGBTQ+ extremist, and the lawmakers who appeared to stand on principle in opposing Jordan’s bid have revealed themselves to be just as out-of-touch as their new leader.” 

Johnson previously served as a senior attorney and national spokesman for the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filing lawsuits against same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and same-sex marital benefits. ADF also led a campaign against GLSEN’s annual anti-bullying Day of Silence. Johnson said the day’s anti-bullying message “cloaked” the “real message… that homosexuality is good for society.”

While serving in the Louisiana state legislature from 2015 to 2017, Johnson introduced a so-called “religious freedom” bill to legalize discrimination against married same-sex couples. He told the Baptist Message that he was “on the front lines of the ‘culture war’ defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage.”

Last December, Johnson introduced a federal version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act.” The bill threatens to cut federal funding to libraries, school districts, hospitals, government entities, or other organizations for “hosting or promoting any program, event, or literature involving sexually-oriented material,” including “any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related topics.”

In a July hearing, Johnson — who serves as the chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, said that parents don’t have the right to provide their children with access to gender-affirming healthcare, something he falsely called a form of “abuse and physical harm,” even though every major American medical association has endorsed it as safe, effective, and essential to the well-being of trans youth.

“Mike Johnson wants to criminalize abortion care and impose a nationwide ban. Mike Johnson was one of the chief architects of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Mike Johnson also wants to end Social Security and Medicare as we know it. Those are extreme views,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said, according to The Hill. “And House Democrats will push back aggressively against that…. However… we are ready, willing, and able to find common ground with our Republican colleagues in order to advance bipartisan solutions to solve problems for hardworking American taxpayers.”

The third House Speaker nominee, Emmer, dropped out of the race hours after he was nominated due to far-right backlash over his support of the Respect for Marriage Act, a law that requires the federal and state governments to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed by other states.

“He voted for Democrat gay marriage bill,” far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wrote on X, “voted with Democrats to overturn President Trump’s transgender military ban, voted for every penny of Ukraine funding, at one time supported the Soros national popular vote scheme, and voted to certify Biden’s 2020 election. We need a Republican Speaker that reflects the values of Republican voters that can lead our conference.”

On Tuesday night, when House Republicans introduced Johnson as their new Speaker nominee, anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and her Republican colleagues booed a reporter for asking Johnson about his attempts to overturn the 2020 election in favor of its loser, former President Donald Trump.

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