Reality Check: Speaker Johnson Claims He “Can’t Remember” His Anti-LGBTQ+ Record, But America Has Receipts

by Brandon Wolf

Johnson Calls Himself a “Rule of Law Guy” While Weaponizing Legislation Against LGBTQ+ People, Reproductive Freedom, and Leading Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

WASHINGTON – In an interview with Sean Hannity last night, new House Speaker Mike Johnson was asked about his stunning career record of anti-LGBTQ+ hate. In a desperate attempt to walk back his deeply unpopular anti-equality record, he responded to questions about his fight against marriage equality and his defense of the criminalization of same-sex relationships by calling himself a “rule of law guy.” This claim flies in the face of his long legal and legislative career perverting and weaponizing the law against LGBTQ+ people and reproductive freedom, not to mention his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. When pressed on a slew of damaging comments he has made over the years, Johnson claimed he “doesn’t even remember some of them”. Allow us to refresh his memory.

CLAIM: Speaker Johnson “doesn’t even remember” the anti-LGBTQ+ vitriol he has hurled.

REALITY CHECK: His record of hate is well-documented – and not confined to the distant past.

  • In a June 5, 2023 episode of his Truth Be Told podcast, Johnson refers to influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender, as “real sick stuff.”

  • Last year, Johnson introduced a national Don’t Say LGBTQ+ bill, which would have defunded schools nationwide that reflect the existence of LGBTQ+ people with inclusive curriculum.

  • This year, he co-sponsored Marjorie Taylor Greene’s extreme ban on health care for transgender youth that would send doctors to prison for providing best practice, medically necessary care. In a hearing he chaired, Johnson spread lies and misinformation about that care and called acceptance of transgender Americans a “scourge.”

  • Johnson has opposed all efforts to update the law to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected from discrimination, including votes against the Respect for Marriage Act, Equality Act, Global Respect Act to protect LGBTQ+ people around the globe from violence, and legislation to ensure that transgender people can serve in the US military.

  • In a 2003 opinion piece, while an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, Mike Johnson argued in favor of the criminalization of same-sex relationships. In it, he falsely claimed that such relationships posed a “public health” risk and said of the Court that “by closing these bedroom doors, they have opened a Pandora’s box.”

  • In an opinion piece one year later defending Louisiana’s ban on marriage equality, Johnson called same-sex relationships “inherently unnatural” and “harmful and costly for everyone.” In it, he equates LGBTQ+ people with pedophiles and calls the community a “deviant group.”

CLAIM: Speaker Johnson is a “rule of law guy”.

REALITY CHECK: Johnson has a career record of supporting legislation and litigation that targets LGBTQ+ people, reproductive freedom, and led the effort to disregard the 2020 Presidential election results.

  • Speaker Johnson led the House amicus brief in support of a Texas lawsuit that sought to throw out the 2020 Presidential election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin

  • Johnson has remained an acolyte of former President Donald Trump, despite Trump facing 91 felony indictments in four different criminal trials. The charges include Racketeering, Obstruction, Conspiracy to Defraud the US Government, and lying to law enforcement.

  • Speaker Johnson celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which had been the law of the land for half a century, calling for “hard labor” as punishment for those accessing abortion care. He supports a federal ban on abortion.

  • Johnson dedicated his one and only term in the Louisiana State Legislature to rolling back LGBTQ+ rights. In 2015, he authored House Bill 707, a License to Discriminate bill that would have prevented the state government from enforcing nondiscrimination provisions when professionals or businesses discriminate against same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email