Mike Johnson: Republicans name anti-LGBTQ+ politician as new House Speaker nominee

Republicans made their fourth pick in just two weeks to replace the ousted speaker of the US House of Representatives, with Louisiana's Mike Johnson winning an internal party vote just hours after previous nominee, Majority Whip Tom Emmer announced his withdrawal.

The Republicans have selected a politician with a worrying anti-LGBTQ+ history as their fourth nominee for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mike Johnson has said he wants to crack down on children in America under the age of 10 learning anything about LGBTQ+ people in school.

But, like previous candidates, the Louisiana representative fell far short of the required 217 votes to secure the spot left vacant by congressman Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted following an historic vote at the beginning of the month.

Since then, the House has been unable to pass bills, and Republicans are still no closer to electing a new speaker. 

On Tuesday (24 October), Republican majority whip Tom Emmer, who had been billed as the frontrunner, dropped out of the running hours after being elected amid resistance from members of his own party, including former president Donald Trump.

In the final round of secret-ballot voting on Tuesday evening, Johnson, a vocal Trump ally, won the nomination with 128 votes. 

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However, according to the Financial Times, several dozen fellow Republicans opposed the nomination, and it remains unclear whether any Republican can get the 217 votes needed to win the gavel.

Johnson told reporters at a press conference after the vote: “Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system. We are going to restore your trust in what we do here, you’re going to see a new form of government and we’re going to move this quickly. This group is ready to govern.” 

The full House will vote on his nomination later today (Wednesday 25 October).

Johnson’s nomination follows Trump bizarre backing of Jesus to become the new speaker.

Mike Johnson’s anti-LGBTQ+ politics

Seen as an ideological member of the Christian Right faction of the party, Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2016.

He holds a disturbing stance on LGBTQ+ rights and has voted for some of the most regressive bills to be put before Congress.

He has also held a leadership position within the Southern Baptist Convention – part of an ultra-conservative, anti-LGBTQ+  Church.

In October 2022, Johnson, 51, introduced a measure that aimed to widen the scope of Florida’s much-criticised Don’t Say Gay law to cover the entire United States.

The measure sought to ban the use of federal money being used to teach children under 10 about the LGBTQ+ community. 

In July, at a hearing on transgender youth, he said that “a parent has no right to sexually transition a young child”. 

He added, according to the Louisiana Illuminator: “Our American legal system recognises the important public interest in protecting children from abuse and physical harm. No parent has a constitutional right to injure their children.”

In 2004, as a constitutional law attorney, he won a unanimous vote in front of the state supreme court while defending the Louisiana Marriage Amendment, to “protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman”.

Johnson also campaigned for the overturning of Roe v Wade in 2022, referring to the ruling as “giving constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America.”

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