Exploring the Record of the US Representative Elected to Speakership
By Dolores Quintana
The new speaker of the House of Representatives, United States Representative Mike Johnson, from Louisiana, has an appalling record in regards to LGBTQ+ rights and is clearly a MAGA Republican. He is known as the architect of the Electoral College objections used by the Republican party to attempt to invalidate the 2020 election results. His plan to invalidate the election results in states that had expanded voting by mail during the pandemic was a smokescreen for Republicans who wanted to keep Donald Trump in office against the will of the American people.
While serving as a national media spokesperson and senior attorney for the anti-LGBTQ organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Congressman Johnson actively participated in and advocated for various initiatives and campaigns that opposed LGBTQ rights. ADF has been a prominent player in legal cases challenging same-sex marriage rights, adoption rights for same-sex couples, bans on conversion therapy, trans-inclusive school policies, and LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.
During his tenure at ADF, Johnson spearheaded a campaign against GLSEN’s annual “Day of Silence,” an event where students choose to remain silent as a sign of solidarity with LGBTQ individuals who face discrimination and bullying due to their identities. The “Day of Silence” aims to raise awareness about the isolation experienced by many LGBTQ youth, highlighting the absence of support from both adults and students.
As part of this campaign, ADF encouraged conservative and religious students to participate in the “Day of Truth,” scheduled for the day following the “Day of Silence.” Participants wore T-shirts bearing the slogan “The Truth Cannot Be Silenced” and distributed cards expressing their refusal to condone “detrimental personal and social behavior.” While Johnson portrayed the “Day of Truth” as a “peaceful and respectful” event, its underlying message characterized homosexuality as “sinful” and “destructive.” Johnson argued that the true intention behind such efforts was to assert that homosexuality is detrimental to society.
Notably, during Johnson’s affiliation with ADF, the organization submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, calling for the justices not to overturn laws criminalizing consensual same-sex behavior. In a 2004 editorial piece published in The News-Star, a Monroe, Louisiana-based newspaper, Johnson opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage using a “slippery slope” argument, with a ridiculous warning of potential legal recognition for other groups like polygamists, pedophiles, and more.
In his role as a Louisiana state representative, Johnson introduced a “religious freedom” bill permitting individuals and businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples, thus discriminating against them. Additionally, he proposed a bill to grant churches and clergy the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, a right they already possessed.
As a member of Congress, Johnson authored the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022,” which sought to prohibit the use of federal funds for programs, events, or literature exposing children under the age of 10 to content related to “sexually oriented material.” The bill, with potential implications for schools, libraries, military bases, and federally funded hospitals, defined “sexually-oriented material” to include information related to “sexual orientation, gender identity, gender dysphoria, or related subjects.” Critics have drawn parallels between this legislation and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Furthermore, Johnson voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, a federal law ensuring the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states without bans on such unions. He also opposed the Equality Act, which aimed to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.
Additionally, Johnson co-sponsored legislation alongside Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA.) that would criminalize the provision of gender-affirming care to minors who identify as transgender and prohibit medical schools from teaching medical students about gender-affirming hormonal or surgical treatments.