Mike Johnson's plan to end same-sex marriage and re-criminalize homosexuality
The House speaker admitted it all--just last year--even as he now claims to honor "settled law."
Shortly after Mike Johnson came out from the shadows of the House GOP to become House speaker last month, he went on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox. The objective was clearly to do damage control with regard to his extreme comments and actions from his past, including having called homosexuality a destructive force that needed to be restrained. All of it was coming back to haunt the hardcore Christian nationalist within hours of being elected speaker by the GOP.
I’m a “rule of law guy,” he told Hannity when the Fox host tepidly asked about the past comments on homosexuality, and he stated that same-sex marriage has been “settled by the Supreme Court” and that that’s that, even if he disagrees:
They changed the definition of marriage that had been regarded by basically every human society for 5,000 years, but when five justices on the Supreme Court changed it, that became the law of the land. I’m a constitutional law attorney. I respect that, and we move forward.
But this was a bald-faced lie that should have the devout Christian burning in hell for eternity.
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As Andrew Kaczynski of CNN reported yesterday, just last year—in June of 2022—Johnson, interviewed on a radio program, praised Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade—the opinion in which Thomas called for now reconsidering the landmark decisions that affirmed same-sex marriage and contraception and banned anti-sodomy laws in the states.
Far-right radio host Todd Starnes began the discussion by commenting, “I thought it was interesting, the words of Justice Thomas, when he said what this could mean for other big culture war issues in this country.” And Johnson responded:
Well, that’s right. We’ve been working against these activist courts for years. They’ve made a mess of our jurisprudence in this country for the last several decades…What Justice Thomas is calling for is not radical. It’s the opposite of that, you know?
We finally have a majority of originalists on the court who 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 that's what he stands for, and we applaud that.
Of course, a statement about “settled law” means very little coming from hard-right extremists. Roe itself was “settled law” before it wasn’t, and Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch all lied during their confirmation hearings, indicating Roe was settled only to overturn it as soon as they could.
But Johnson is an example of the opposite: He actually revealed his true beliefs and intentions before rising to a more powerful position—making it clear that landmark decisions such as Obergefell should be overturned, that it was “not radical” to do so since “activist judges” had decided them, and that “we finally have a majority of originalists” to clean up the “mess.” Then he’d go on Sean Hannity’s show a year later and lie through his teeth.
Johnson has in fact laid out his plans for years. He proposed, shortly after the Obergefell decision, at a right-wing conference in 2015, the radical notion that Congress could “take away” the Supreme Court’s power and that it has the “constitutional authority to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court” when it came to same-sex marriage:
The Congress has the constitutional authority to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in certain areas. They could say, theoretically, if the political will was there, if we pushed the issue, the Congress could say, “You know what? We don't want the federal courts to be able to decide the issue of marriage. That is reserved for the people. It always has been since time immemorial, and it should stay that way. You usurped [the people’s] authority, and so we're going to take it away from you.”
Then he spoke of the possibility that the next president—who of course would turn out to be Donald Trump—could appoint at least two, three, or more Supreme Court justices to overturn Obergefell, explaining the Supreme Court has reversed itself before:
You know, elections do have consequences. The next president will appoint at least two Supreme Court justices—maybe three, maybe more. And that could be the thing that turns the tide. The Supreme Court has reversed itself before, as you know. Slavery is an example.
So much for Johnson’s bullshit to Hannity about “settled law.”
Will Johnson get a chance to have a Congress and a president who would pass a law to strip the power of the Supreme Court on marriage and other issues affecting LGBTQ people—which the current court itself might even rubber stamp? Will there be another president and Congress who will support Johnson’s radical ideas? He’s clearly closer to that, as House Speaker heading into 2024 with tight elections, than he’s ever been before.
As I’ve written, Johnson is a bigot who has in the past called homosexuality “unnatural” and “destructive.” He’s described transgender health care as “abuse” and causing “physical harm,” and he co-sponsored legislation to make it a crime to give transgender youth gender-affirming care. He’s said same-sex marriage would “open the floodgates” to “chaos” and "“sexual anarchy.” And he stated , regarding sexuality, that “one of the primary purposes of the law in civil government is to restrain evil. We have to acknowledge collectively that man is inherently evil and needs to be restrained.”
“Restrain” those he perceives as “evil.” Those words sound pretty similar to the words Donald Trump has been using lately to talk about his opponents, calling them “vicious” and “vermin”, forces that he must ”demolish,” “expel,” “cast out,” “throw off,” and “root out.”
And Johnson, who defended Donald Trump in his impeachment trials and played a key role in helping Trump attempt to overturn the 2020 election, is working hard to get Trump elected president again—a president who will sign laws and appoint federal judges and Supreme Court justices who will further help make Johnson’s vision of authoritarian theocracy a reality.
A week after Trump’s blood-curdling “vermin” speech, Johnson this past Monday was in fact at Mar-a-Lago having dinner with Trump. You can be sure they were planning and plotting how they’re going to “restrain evil" and “root out” the “vermin.” We should all take that very seriously.