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Mike Johnson’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Legislation Opposed by Americans: Survey

Mike Johnson House Speaker Legislation
Image: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A new Data for Progress poll highlights the nation’s split views on a controversial “don’t say gay or trans” bill, as more of Mike Johnson’s record comes under scrutiny.

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The recent elevation of Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson to speaker of the House has brought his legislative history on LGBTQ+ issues into the national spotlight, including his support of a nationwide "don't say gay" law. Now, a new survey from Data for Progress looks into how Americans actually support such legislation.

Conducted from November 3 to 5, the survey polled 1,262 likely U.S. voters and highlighted a significant divide in public opinion regarding Johnson’s proposed “don’t say gay or trans” bill.

Johnson, known for his conservative stance, had previously introduced the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022,” inspired by Florida’s “don’t say gay” law. The Johnson-proposed bill sought to ban federal funding for any programs or literature deemed “sexually oriented” for children under the age of 10. This definition explicitly included discussions on gender identity. However, the legislation failed to advance in the House under Democratic control.

The Data for Progress survey reveals that 37 percent of respondents support the policy, while 52 percent oppose it. The partisan divide is evident, with 58 percent of Republicans supporting and 72 percent of Democrats opposing the legislation. The split is narrower among independent and third-party voters, with 37 percent in support and half opposed.

Related: House Republicans Schedule ‘Mean-Spirited’ Hearing on Gender-Affirming Care

This legislation is a part of Johnson’s broader agenda on gender and sexuality issues. Earlier this year, he chaired a hearing titled “The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children,” where he voiced strong criticism against gender-affirming care for minors and the broader concepts of gender fluidity and surgical sex changes.

Johnson’s rise to speaker was marked by notable opposition from within Congress. During the speaker vote, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat from Minnesota and the first lesbian mother in Congress, openly celebrated her marriage, challenging Johnson’s opposition to marriage equality.

A staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, Johnson’s political positions include opposition to abortion rights, support for gun rights, and a refusal to certify the last presidential election results.

Related: Federal ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Introduced by House Republicans

LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have been vocal in their criticism of Johnson’s promotion. The Human Rights Campaign highlighted his association with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group known for its anti-LGBTQ+ stance, and his record against LGBTQ+ equality in the Louisiana legislature and Congress. HRC described his career as one marked by efforts to marginalize individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

As speaker, Johnson’s past legislative efforts on LGBTQ+ issues continue to fuel debates and raise concerns among advocacy groups and constituents.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).