’s conservative legal background before his congressional tenure is under scrutiny, along with positions he’s taken on critical issues before being under the spotlight. This includes the time he tried to stop a woman from adopting her wife's son.
According to a
by Accountable.US shared with USA Today, before his political ascent, the
, as a private attorney, represented
in several cases opposing
+ rights expansion. Among these was a significant case where the state aimed to prevent a woman from adopting her wife’s biological son.
However, the case, along with others, became moot following the 2015
verdict that implemented marriage equality nationwide.
The report also highlighted other instances where Johnson defended Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage and attempted to prevent same-sex couples from appearing together on a child’s birth certificate.
While Johnson’s association with the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom was known, his role as a private attorney in these new cases has not been widely reported until now,
Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US, told the paper that Johnson’s legal history “reveals even more about where his true allegiances lie,” suggesting his leadership pushes a “far-right agenda on everyday Americans.”
Recent revelations about Johnson’s
archaic views on homosexuality
have come out since he was elected speaker. Known for promoting gay conversion therapy, a discredited notion, Johnson has been recorded emphasizing the need for an “honest conversation about homosexuality,” stating, “It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change. If you want to,” as per audio obtained by CNN. Johnson’s association with Exodus International, an antigay group known for its conversion therapy practices, mainly through an event called The Day of Truth, has further fueled concerns.
The founder of that group has apologized for the harm it did to queer people.
The disrepute surrounding conversion therapy, condemned by major medical and mental health organizations for its ineffectiveness and harmful impacts, especially among
+ youth, casts a long shadow. Johnson’s involvement with socially conservative organizations and his staunch belief that homosexuality is a choice reflects deeper-rooted conservative views.
One case began in 2014, with a Louisiana court approving an intrafamily adoption, later contested by then-state attorney general Buddy Caldwell, USA Today reports.
The legal tug-of-war continued until a court ruling allowed the family their adoption rights, going against the state’s intervention.
In a separate case, Johnson represented Louisiana against seven same-sex couples seeking marriage rights. Although a district court initially upheld the state’s same-sex marriage ban, the ruling was appealed. Yet, the cases lost relevance after the 2015 Supreme Court decision declaring such bans unconstitutional.
Before becoming Speaker, Johnson was relatively unknown outside Louisiana and Washington’s political circles. His conservative leanings were visible through his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage and co-sponsoring legislation to curtail abortion rights. Johnson’s earlier tenure as a lawyer and spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom, where he actively advocated for conservative social issues, was also highlighted in the report.
The report by Accountable.US noted Johnson’s representation in cases concerning abortion rights and religious matters, including a 2003 case advocating for a Ten Commandments monument in Alabama. This move was later ruled against by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, citing a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.