State and National Equality Groups Condemn Selection of Extremist Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House

October 26, 2023

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana the new Speaker of the House. Equality Federation, Forum for Equality, and Louisiana Trans Advocates — national and state organizations advocating for LGBTQ+ equality — join advocates across the country in condemning this selection, pointing out Johnson’s vehement anti-LGBTQ+ history as a lawmaker.

SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality, had the following comment:

“While Speaker Mike Johnson may have tried (and failed) to pass multiple pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation during his short two years in the Louisiana State House of Representatives, he laid the foundation for the realities that LGBTQ+ Louisianans face today, including harmful bans on gender affirming health care and on trans youth from playing sports. Speaker Johnson’s priorities are anti-democratic and anti-LGBTQ+ – and this is who the Republican Party wants to best represent their interests in Congress moving forward. With the gubernatorial election of Jeff Landry to Congressman Mike Johnson’s assent to Speaker of the House, there are some very dark and dangerous days ahead for Louisiana and our country, and we need to take their threats seriously.”

Peyton Rose Michelle, executive director of Louisiana Trans Advocates, had the following comment:

“Bigotry and discrimination have no place in Louisiana, or in Congress. But with his election to the Speaker of the House today, Mike Johnson brings his cruel, anti-LGBTQ+ ideology to one of the highest offices in our country. 

“Despite Mike Johnson’s open hate for LGBTQ people, I have not given up hope because I know that we can defeat his cruel vision. During his short tenure in the Louisiana state legislature, Louisianans successfully came together again and again to reject the harmful bills he tried to advance in our state. This goes to show that by working together, we can defeat hate, even when it comes from those who are supposed to be our leaders.”

Fran Hutchins, executive director of Equality Federation, had the following comment:

“From his time serving in the Louisiana state legislature to his tenure as a U.S. Representative, Mike Johnson has never been shy about his hatred for LGBTQ+ people. His selection today makes him the most anti-equality Speaker in U.S. history, something his fellow extremist House Republicans will undoubtedly be celebrating. But this selection should worry us all. We now have someone dangerously close to the presidency who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, wants to criminalize abortion care nationwide, end Social Security and Medicare, and enact a federal version of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ+’ law. 

“The nationwide attacks on trans and queer people perpetuated by Speaker Johnson and other politicians harm us all, whether we’re gay or straight, transgender or not, because they limit our freedom and distract us from the real problems we face.

“We will not back down from our work to ensure that queer and trans folks are treated fairly, no matter what state they live in or who is in power. Trans and queer people and our families have always been here, and we always will be.”

Mike Johnson’s Anti-LGBTQ+ History 

  • Johnson previously served as a senior attorney and national spokesperson for the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filing lawsuits against same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and same-sex marital benefits. 
  • While serving in the Louisiana state legislature, Johnson introduced a bill, the Marriage and Conscience Act, that would have allowed discrimination against same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. He also introduced a Pastor Protection Act that would protect clergy as well as employees of religious organizations from having to perform same-sex marriages. 
  • Most recently, Johnson sponsored a federal “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” bill “that prohibits federal funding for any ‘sexually-oriented’ event or material for children under the age of 10.”
  • Johnson led a Congressional hearing attacking health care for trans youth, spreading lies and disinformation about what that care consists of and pushing for unqualified lawmakers to insert themselves into discussions that should take place between medical professionals, parents, and their children. He also was a cosponsor of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s legislation aiming to block health care for trans youth nationwide and threatening to throw doctors who provide care in prison for as much as 25 years. 
  • Johnson has a history of anti-gay language, most prominently seen in editorials and amicus briefs he contributed to while working at Alliance Defending Freedom. 

###

About Equality Federation

​​Equality Federation is an advocacy accelerator rooted in social justice, building power in our network of state-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) advocacy organizations. For more information, please visit https://www.equalityfederation.org/

About Forum for Equality

Forum for Equality is Louisiana’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) human rights organization dedicated to the establishment of a society free from discrimination and to the support of good government. We believe that the fastest and most efficient way to achieve our goals is through community organization, education, and constructive participation in the political process. Since 1989, Forum has been working in Louisiana to pass civil rights advancements for the LGBTQ community. Learn more: www.forumforequality.org.

About Louisiana Trans Advocates

Louisiana Trans Advocates is advancing the core human rights of self-determination and expression for all trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people in Louisiana. Learn more: https://www.latransadvocates.org/

More You might like

REPORT: Preempting LGBTQ+ Rights: How States Undermine Local Leadership and Innovation on LGBTQ+ Equality

In a new paper from A Better Balance, Local Solutions Support Center, and Equality Federation, we trace the local roots of LGBTQ+ equality in the United States and highlight the different types of abusive preemption that target local authority to protect LGBTQ+ individuals.

April 23, 2023
Our Growing Team

We are no longer the scrappy organization we once were. I am proud to say that Equality Federation is now an organization of 17, with the plan to have a staff of 20 by the end of the year.

April 23, 2023
Equality Federation Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis

Today, Equality Federation responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case about whether a business that is open to the public can be granted an unprecedented free speech exemption from state nondiscrimination law in order to turn away customers they would rather not serve. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled for 303 Creative in a highly fact-specific decision authorizing a narrow exception to state nondiscrimination laws for a website developer.

April 23, 2023
A young man looking up, smilingA young man smiling straight at the camera
Confident young woman standing with crossed arms.

Want To Make A Difference? Support Our Work

With your support, we'll be able to continue our work to build the leaders of today and tomorrow, strengthen state-based LGBTQ+ organizations, and make critical progress on the issues that matter most—like protecting transgender people, ending HIV criminalization and ensuring access to care, and banning conversion therapy across the country.