Here’s a scary story: The United States of America has a new Speaker of the House! And boy does he hate gay people!
New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) may have one of the most forgettable faces and names in existence, but we ignore him at our peril. After all, this guy is now third in line to the presidency. That’s right. If something happens to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, it’s President Mike Johnson time. Shudder.
Johnson’s views of LGBTQ+ people is decidedly old school, meaning his views don’t match those of most of the country. He’s partying like it’s 2004 when the number one priority of most Republicans in D.C. was passing a constitutional amendment to ban what was then called “same-sex marriage,” rather than today’s terminology: marriage.
Granted, Republicans in D.C. have made it clear that their top priorities are making sure transgender kids can’t get the care they need and that transgender athletes can’t participate in sports, so it’s not like they’ve grown or anything.
Surely one reason for the well-documented trail of Johnson’s outspoken derision of LGBTQ+ people is that he used to be an attorney and spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund (now Alliance Defending Freedom), an anti-LGBTQ+ organization labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
This role enabled him to nab opinion space in The Times, a Shreveport, Louisiana newspaper, to argue against marriage equality, writing things like, “If we change marriage for this tiny, modern minority, we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection. They already are. There will be no legal basis to deny a bisexual the right to marry a partner of each sex, or a person to marry his pet.”
It’s been a while since I heard the “people are going to marry their pets” argument. Really brings me back.
In another opinion piece, Johnson also argued against employment protections for LGBTQ+ by quoting Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America: “Creating a special civil rights status for employees based on bedroom behavior is an insult to true minorities. Who will be next, adulterers?”
I just love it when my basic civil rights are treated as both completely frivolous and deeply revolting.
Johnson was hella mad with the outcome of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that decriminalized gay sex nationwide.
In yet another opinion piece, he wrote, “There is clearly no ‘right to sodomy’ in the Constitution, and the right of ‘privacy of the home’ has never placed all activity within the home outside the bounds of criminal law. What about drugs, prostitution and counterfeiting? Make no mistake, the Lawrence decision opens the door to the undermining of many important laws and is ultimately a strategic first shot for the homosexual lobby’s ultimate prize — the redefinition of marriage.”
And we did it! We redefined marriage and completely destroyed it for good. Heterosexuals are left with no choice but to pretend to be gay so as to spare themselves from open hostility and discrimination. (Insert evil laughter.)
So Johnson said some ignorant shit in the 2000s. Surely he’s changed in the last two decades?
In 2022, Johnson introduced a bill that would basically bring Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law nationwide. It was called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” and I am sure you can see where this is going.
According to NPR, “The language in the proposed legislation lumps together topics of sexual orientation and gender identity, with sexual content such as pornography and stripping. It would prohibit federal funds from being used to support any ‘sexually-oriented’ programs, events, and literature for children under 10; ban federal facilities from hosting or promoting such events or literature; and allow parents and guardians to sue government officials, agencies, and private entities if a child under 10 is ‘exposed’ to such materials.”
And yes, drag queen story hours were called out specifically.
In a statement about the bill, Johnson said, “The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology. No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”
He called the bill “commonsense” and “straightforward,” though it is neither. The language is so broad and the definition of what constitutes sexually explicit is not uniform. After all, Republicans are arguing that kids even learning that transgender and gay people exist is exposing them to harmful material.
As a lesbian who is also a mom, I’d like to clarify for the record that my existence does not harm anyone, especially not my son who I love and who loves me very much.
So yeah, Mike Johnson. Third in line for the presidency. Don’t you dare tell me that voting doesn’t matter.