Anti-LGBTQ+ House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) didn’t just agree with Justice Clarence Thomas’ suggestion that the Supreme Court should revisit its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage — he applauded it.
The court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationstruck down Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. In his concurring opinion, Thomas included a footnote asserting that by striking down the legal basis for Roe, the court had called into question every other decision using the same reasoning.
Thomas went so far as to specifically name the Supreme Court’s decisions in Obergefell v. Hodges and Lawrence v. Texas, the cases that established the legal right to same-sex marriage nationally and struck down anti-sodomy laws, respectively.
The same day that the court released its Dobbs decision in June 2022, Johnson cheered Thomas’s footnote on conservative pundit Todd Starnes’s radio show.
In an audio recording resurfaced by CNN this week, Johnson touted his years of experience fighting against same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and same-sex marital benefits as a senior attorney for anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) prior to being elected to public office.
“We’ve been sort of working against these activist courts for years,” Johnson said. “I was in those courts for 20 years, in federal court litigating these big cases, religious freedom, pro-life cases before I got elected to Congress in 2016.”
“There’s been some really bad law made,” Johnson continued. “They’ve made a mess of our jurisprudence in this country for the last, you know, several decades, and maybe some of that needs to be cleaned up.”
“What Justice Thomas is calling for is not radical,” he added. “In fact, it’s the opposite of that, you know? We finally have a majority of originalists on the court, and all that means is that they want to fairly interpret and apply the Constitution as it’s written, as the framers of the Constitution intended. That’s the basis of our whole system of government, and we have to get back to that. And that’s what he stands for, and we applaud that.”
Since taking the speakership late last month after weeks of Republican infighting, Johnson’s anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs and extensive history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights have come under scrutiny alongside his key role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In addition to his work for the ADF, which included work for a now-defunct anti-LGBTQ+ Christian group that promoted so-called “conversion therapy,” he wrote several editorials in the early 2000s criticizing the Supreme Court for striking down anti-sodomy laws. His editorials also opposed same-sex marriage and argued against non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
More recently, as a member of Congress, Johnson introduced a federal version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, falsely accused President Joe Biden of breaking federal law by displaying the Progress Pride flag outside the White House, and claimed that parents do not have the right to provide their children with access to gender-affirming healthcare.
Johnson still sits on the board of a conservative Christian publishing company that says MPOX is the “appropriate penalty” for being gay. His wife, Kelly, runs a Christian counseling service that compared LGBTQ+ identities to bestiality on its website. In an October 3 call with the World Prayer Network, Johnson said that America is “dark and depraved” because there are too many LGBTQ+ people.