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Mike Johnson Says the Gays Ended Rome in Newly Released Audio Recordings

House Speaker Mike Johnson Press Conference
Image: via FOX News

Unearthed remarks on gay conversion therapy and derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community put the spotlight on the new speaker’s regressive beliefs.


Recent revelations about the newly elected Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, have raised eyebrows, prompted ridicule, and sparked concern due to his archaic views on homosexuality. Johnson has a history of promoting gay conversion therapy, a discredited notion suggesting that individuals can change their sexual orientation through therapy.

According to audio obtained by CNN, Johnson emphasized 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.”

CNN further revealed that Johnson has been associated with Exodus International, a group known for its antigay stance and conversion therapy practices, particularly through an event known as The Day of Truth. This event, orchestrated in response to a pro-gay initiative, aimed at persuading individuals, especially teens, that they could alter their sexual orientation through counseling and prayer.

Conversion therapy has been condemned as ineffective and harmful by every major medical and mental health organization. Research has indicated it heightens the risk of suicide among LGBTQ+ young people.

Moreover, the ultraconservative lawmaker’s involvement with the socially conservative organization Alliance Defense Fund (now Alliance Defending Freedom) and his efforts in promoting the Day of Truth reflect a deeper-rooted belief that homosexuality is a choice rather than an inherent trait.

He distinctly argued that, unlike other immutable characteristics such as race or eye color, homosexuality is a “type of behavior” that individuals can change.

“Our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are things we’re born with and we cannot change. But what these adult advocacy groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network [GLSEN] are promoting is a type of behavior. Homosexual behavior is something you do. It’s not something that you are,” Johnson said.

GLSEN is a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring equal treatment and inclusion for all students, including LGBTQ+ students, who are present in educational settings everywhere.

Johnson’s disparaging remarks did not stop at conversion therapy.

He has publicly expressed derogatory views on gay rights, notably around the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling, which invalidated state sodomy laws. Johnson contended that such laws should have remained intact and went on to label homosexuality as “inherently unnatural” and a “dangerous lifestyle.”

Lawrence v. Texas was one of the rulings Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said should be reevaluated in his concurring opinion striking down Roe v. Wade and the federal right to abortion access.

Johnson also voiced strong opposition to marriage equality, bizarrely suggesting it could lead to people marrying their pets and even attributing the fall of the Roman Empire to societal acceptance of homosexuality.

“Many historians, those who are objective, would look back and recognize and give some credit to the fall of Rome, to not only the deprivation of the society and the loss of morals but also to the rampant homosexual behavior that was condoned by the society,” he asserted.

The uncovering of Johnson’s past remarks and associations brings to light a disturbingly outdated perspective on homosexuality at a time when much of the nation is moving toward a more inclusive and understanding stance on LGBTQ+ rights, with more than 71 percent of Americans supporting marriage equality in a recent Gallup poll.

The Advocate contacted Johnson’s office to inquire whether he still holds these views, but a spokesperson for the speaker was unable to provide a statement, they said.

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