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Speaker Mike Johnson Roundly Condemned by LGBTQ+ Groups, Biden Campaign, and Democrats

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson and LGBTQ+ Rights Protest
Images: Mike Johnson Website; Shutterstock

There's much backlash to the election of U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, a homophobe, transphobe, and election denier as speaker of the House.

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LGBTQ+ groups and other progressive forces, including President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, are denouncing the elevation of far-right U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson to speaker of the House of Representatives.

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, strongly opposes LGBTQ+ equality, abortion rights, and gun restrictions. He is a close ally of former President Donald Trump and opposed the certification of Biden’s election as president. He not only voted against certification but led a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that sought to undermine the results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all states that Biden carried. The case was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“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,” said a statement from Allen Morris, policy director for the National LGBTQ Task Force. “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 added: “Americans should consider his track record on the preservation and maintenance of our very democracy as one that 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.”

Related: How Anti-LGBTQ+ Is Newly Elected House Speaker Mike Johnson? Very.

A pokesperson for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s reelection campaign, Ammar Moussa, said the elevation of Johnson to Speaker shows the deep control MAGA Republicans have in the House.

“MAGA Mike Johnson’s ascension to the speakership cements the extreme MAGA takeover of the House Republican Conference. Now, Donald Trump has his loyal foot soldier to ban abortion nationwide, lead efforts to deny free and fair election results, gut Social Security and Medicare, and advance the extreme MAGA agenda at the expense of middle-class families. 22 days before Congress must act to avoid a government shutdown and while our allies overseas at war depend on our help, extreme MAGA House Republicans elevated a man to second-in-line to the presidency who still won’t admit President Biden won the 2020 election. The American people have rejected the extreme MAGA ideology at the ballot box because they understand what’s at stake. And so to every MAGA Republican who supported this choice: We’ll see you in November.”

“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 U.S. Supreme Court,” said a statement from David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “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. Our non-queer, 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.”

“This election represents the full and complete takeover of the Republican Party by MAGA extremists, with the American people destined to bear the cost,” said Patrick Gaspard, CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “House Republicans chose a speaker who wants to gut Americans’ health and financial security by slashing Medicare and Social Security by trillions of dollars. He also spearheaded efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and is at the extreme fringe of right-wing intolerance when it comes to LGBTQ rights. His extremism, evidenced by a record of voting with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) 95 percent of the time, is anathema to who we are as a people.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, had this to say: “Today, the House had the opportunity to elect a speaker of the House who could lead in a bipartisan manner to move America forward. 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. By electing Mike Johnson — a vehement opponent of LGBTQI+ equality — as speaker, his supporters have signaled they want these attacks against our community to continue.”

Former House member Mondaire Jones, a Black gay man who is seeking election to the body again, noted that Mike Lawler, the Republican he’s running against in New York State, voted for Johnson as speaker.

Johnson is “the election denier who was an architect of House Republican efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the author of a federal ‘don’t say gay law,’” Jones said in a statement. “Rep. Johnson is an extremist who supports a national abortion ban and an out-of-touch representative who wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. This vote makes clear that while Lawler likes to masquerade as a moderate, he is a reliable vote for the extreme MAGA Republicans.”

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.