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GLAAD STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION OF MIKE JOHNSON TO SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND RESEARCH ON JOHNSON’S EXTENSIVE ANTI-LGBTQ HISTORY
- Last updated: October 26, 2023
GLAAD: “The new Speaker’s career history is thin on legislative leadership, and heavily focused on stripping fundamental freedoms from every American. His proposals, efforts and inaccurate statements against LGBTQ people, against reproductive freedom and against our very democracy, make this nomination a blight in history. Every reporter and voter must continue to ask and demand accountability of the new Speaker and every elected official who voted to elevate him. Every American deserves answers from the Speaker and the House majority about what they are doing to improve lives and protect our freedoms, rather than bow to the narrow number of extremists in Congress and society.”
(Thursday, October 26, 2023) GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing the anti-LGBTQ record of Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana and responding to his selection as 56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House on October 25 following the historic removal of his predecessor Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on October 3 by members of his party. Following McCarthy’s removal, and as the country faces a funding shutdown and multiple international crises, the House was without a leader for 22 days, the first time in United States history that the chamber has gone without a leader.
Prior to his election to Speaker Johnson was known for being a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and for the leading role he played in attempting to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in 2020. He is a vocal opponent of healthcare for transgender youth, which is supported as consensus, mainstream care by every major medical association. Johnson is an author or co-author of anti-equality legislation that targets LGBTQ people for discrimination, and was a national spokesperson for anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion extremist hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) which has a documented history of funding and fraudulently litigating cases targeting LGBTQ people.
In his first news conference as Speaker nominee, Johnson refused to answer a reporter’s question about his role in denying and advocating against the 2020 election results. Johnson’s colleagues booed, laughed and shouted down the reporter, Rachel Scott, who is Black and works for ABC News.
Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“Rep. Mike Johnson has made it known for many years that he does not believe in the fundamental equality of all people. He has sought to deny LGBTQ people legal equality, health care, and dignity, in legislation and through his work for ADF. The new Speaker’s career history is thin on legislative leadership, and heavily focused on stripping fundamental freedoms from every American. His proposals, efforts and inaccurate statements against LGBTQ people, against reproductive freedom and against our very democracy, make this nomination a blight in history. Every reporter and voter must continue to ask and demand accountability of the new Speaker and every elected official who voted to elevate him. Every American deserves answers from the Speaker and the House majority about what they are doing to improve lives and protect our freedoms, rather than bow to the narrow number of extremists in Congress and society.”
- Said that parents should not be allowed to let their children have access to transgender health care: “A parent has no right to sexually transition a young child,” he said at a hearing on transgender youth. He baselessly described transgender health care as “abuse” and “physical harm,” and said, “No parent has a constitutional right to injure their children.” In fact, health care for transgender people and youth is mainstream medical care supported by every major medical association and leading world health authority. Argued that states have the right to regulate transgender health care, such as puberty blockers, despite several federal courts blocking or striking down state laws banning such care.
- Authored a federal “don’t say LGBTQ” bill in 2022 that would prohibit federal funding for any “sexually-oriented” event or material for children under the age of 10. The legislation would have affected public libraries, public schools, and military bases, and hospitals. The bill draws inspiration from anti-LGBTQ state legislation in Florida.
- Played a key role in efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the 2020 election and keep Donald Trump in power despite losing the 2020 election. Johnson led the amicus brief signed by more than 100 House Republicans in support of a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four swing states. The New York Times called Johnson “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections” on Jan. 6, 2021. Johnson propagated a discredited conspiracy theory involving Hugo Chávez and Dominion voting systems.
- Voted against the bipartisan “Respect for Marriage Act” to codify same-sex and interracial marriage equality. President Biden signed it into law in 2022.
- Co-sponsored legislation by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene that would make it a crime to provide transgender health care to people under 18 years of age.
- Has close ties to the extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom which advocates for laws and policies around the world that target LGBTQ people. Johnson previously served as a senior attorney and spokesperson for ADF and is an ADF allied attorney in Congress, meaning he agrees with the organization’s anti-LGBTQ statement of faith and provides pro bono legal support on behalf of the group. While an attorney at ADF, Johnson received the “Family, Faith, and Freedom Award” from the Family Research Council, an Southern Poverty Law Center designated anti-LGBTQ hate group.
- Sponsored a religious exemptions bill that would have made it easier to discriminate against LGBTQ people in Louisiana.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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