Mike Johnson tries to back-pedal on anti-gay comments

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson, the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives, has tried to back-pedal on horrific anti-gay comments he has made in the past.

The Louisiana Republican representative, who once campaigned to make gay sex illegal, was elected as the successor of ousted speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was the first speaker ever to be removed from office in US history.

Johnson’s appointment has been met with heavy criticism from Democrats and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, who cite his long history of condemning homosexuality.

But in a new interview, Johnson insists that he “loves all people” and “doesn’t even remember” some of the statements he made about LGBTQ+ people and rights over the course of his career.

No one else has forgotten, though.

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.
Johnson insists that he “loves all people” and “doesn’t even remember” some of the statements he made about LGBTQ+ people. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier this week,  The Advocate collated a list of editorials from the early 2000s in which Johnson had called homosexuality “inherently unnatural”, argued that same-sex marriage would “doom” America, and suggested that legalising it would mean pedophiles could claim “equal protection”.

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Additionally, in 2003, Johnson advocated for the criminalisation of gay sex, writing in a Louisiana newspaper that “there is clearly no ‘right to sodomy’ in the Constitution”.

Elsewhere in the column, seen by ABC News, he claimed that “the right of ‘privacy in the home’ has never placed all activity with the home outside the bounds of criminal law.”

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Suddenly, though, Johnson is struggling to remember making these claims, he told Fox News in an interview this week.

In the interview, held at Capitol Hill, journalist Sean Hannity asked Johnson about his stance on homosexuality, pointing to the years worth of anti-gay statements he had made over the course of his career.

Mike Johnson
Johnson is struggling to remember making some of the claims he made about LGBTQ+ rights. (Fox News)

“You have been getting hammered on this. I want to ask you about it… Some of these comments were 15 years ago,” Hannity told him.

Johnson replied: “I don’t even remember some of them.”

He went on to explain that some of his statements were made during his time as a “religious liberty defence lawyer” for the ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom).

The ADF is listed as an anti-LGBTQ+ group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and also made efforts to counter abortion access and equal rights for women, and discredit the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“I was a litigator who was called upon to defend the state marriage amendments, if you remember, back in the early 2000s,” Johnson recalled.

“I think it was over 35 states, somewhere in that number, that the people went to the ballot in their respective states and they amended their state constitutions to say that marriage is one man and one woman. I was a religious liberty defence lawyer, and I was called to go in and defend those cases in court.”

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He then insisted: “Let me state this very clearly – and there’s been questions about this. Let me say where I am. Anybody that knows me will tell you this is true. I am a rule-of-law guy. I made a career defending the rule of law, I respect the rule of law.

“When the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell opinion, that became the law of the land, okay? I respect the rule of the law, but I also genuinely love all people, regardless of their lifestyle choices. This is not about the people themselves. I am a Bible-believing Christian.”

Wrapping up with perhaps his least reassuring statement from the entire interview, Johnson said that if anyone wants to know more about his opinion on “any issue under the sun”, they should “go pick up a bible and read it. That’s my personal worldview. That’s what I believe.”

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