Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, the new speaker of the House, is little-known nationally, but he’s as anti-LGBTQ+ as any of the more prominent members of his party.
Johnson was elected speaker Wednesday, winning 220 votes to Democrat Hakeem Jeffries’s 209. The speaker is usually drawn from the House’s majority party, although he or she does not have to be, and sets the agenda for the House, which can do no business without a speaker.
Johnson, in his fourth term representing a northwestern Louisiana district, has received a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard in every term. He voted against the Equality Act, the Respect for Marriage Act, and numerous other pro-equality bills.
New House Speaker Mike Johnson
In 2022, he introduced a bill called the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022, which would have prohibited the use of federal funds “to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, and for other purposes.” Inspired by Florida's "don't say gay" law, it would have banned discussion of topics related to identity as well as more lascivious-sounding content. It went nowhere, as the House then had a Democratic majority.
This year, he led a hearing on gender-affirming care for minors. It was titled “The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children.” In his opening statement, he said, “We see adults inflicting harm on helpless children to affirm their worldview: that is, that gender is fluid, sex can be surgically altered, and that there are no lasting consequences as a result of these gender transition procedures. … Something has gone terribly wrong and today we hope to shed light on what that is and how we can address the problem.”
Johnson is also, like most House Republicans, opposed to abortion rights. And he voted against certifying the results of the last presidential election.
Johnson will succeed Republican Kevin McCarthy of California, who was ousted as speaker this month.
This story was originally published in The Advocate.
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