Mike Johnson: New House of Representatives speaker wanted gay sex to be outlawed

Mike Johnson

Anti-gay Louisiana Republican representative Mike Johnson, who previously campaigned to make gay sex illegal, has become the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives. 

LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and Democrats denounced the elevation of the hard-right politician, 51, and described his promotion as “deeply troubling” for the American people. 

Johnson’s new role has seen him succeed ousted speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was the first speaker the House of Representatives had removed from office in US history. 

The promotion has also brought Johnson’s political positions and past comments into sharp focus, with The Advocate collating a damning list of editorials from the early 2000s in which he called homosexuality “inherently unnatural”, said same-sex marriage would “doom” America and legalising it would mean pedophiles could claim “equal protection”.

ABC reports that in a 2003 column for a Louisiana newspaper, Johnson wrote: “There is clearly no ‘right to sodomy’ in the Constitution. And the right of ‘privacy of the home’ has never placed all activity with the home outside the bounds of the criminal law.”

The Louisiana politician is an ally of indicted former president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and has been described by The New York Times as “an architect of the effort to overturn the 2020 election”, voting in favour of overturning results in various states and previously questioned the trustworthiness of Dominion voting software. 

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As well as being anti-gay, Mike Johnson is also opposed to Roe v Wade and supports a national abortion ban, promotes covenant marriages – under which divorce is much more difficult to obtain – and supported Trump’s 2017 executive order to ban immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. 

“I would be hard-pressed to think of a worse member to be elected speaker of the House, not simply for LGBTQ communities, but for the American people,” Allen Morris, policy director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement. 

“Many of my family members have resided in the Fourth Congressional District of Louisiana for decades, so I know from personal experience his track record on civil rights and minority issues is clear and stark as our community continues to find itself under attack.”

Morris went on to say Johnson’s track record “should concern us all”. 

“This entire process of choosing a new speaker of the house has only served to expose even more how MAGA extremism continues to degrade our ability to allow Congress to reconcile the important issues impacting us,” Morris added. 

In a statement, the National Black Justice Coalition said it “strongly condemns” the election of Mike Johnson, citing his anti-LGBTQ+ stance among its reasons.

The statement reads: “Johnson’s record and opposition to critical civil rights and LGBTQ+ protections speak to his inability to lead the House in prioritizing public-policy investments that increase opportunities and improve life outcomes for a country that continues to grow in diversity.

“An anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ+ elected leader should not be third in line to the presidency.

“It is deeply troubling to witness Johnson elected as Speaker, especially considering his vote against bipartisan legislation to codify same-sex marriage, which is foundational to ensuring equity and the staying power of constitutional rights upheld by the US Supreme Court.

“His repeated support for anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022, which many have aptly labeled a federal ‘don’t say gay’ measure, highlights his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community,” the Coalition continued.

“Our non-binary, trans and gender-expansive siblings must understand Republican leaders like Representative Johnson are targeting us because we’re a minority, and their attacks will NOT stop with our community. History has taught all of us that they will come for you.”

Democrat Mark Pocan, who is chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, said the House had the chance to elect a speaker who could lead in a “bipartisan manner to move America forward”. But, instead, “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,” Pocan continued.

“By electing Mike Johnson – a vehement opponent of LGBTQI+ equality – as speaker, his supporters have signalled they want these attacks against our community to continue.”