Wednesday, October 25, 2023

House Speaker Mike Johnson supported criminalizing gay sex

New GOP Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is an unabashed homophobe.

In case you haven't heard, new GOP Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is a MAGA-boosting, election denying, far-right homophobic zealot who wants to completely ban abortion and impose legislative erasures on the lives and health of LGBTQ people, particularly the trans community.

We will be hearing a lot about House Speaker Mike Johnson in the coming days and months as we watch him marshal over the hot mess known as the GOP majority in the House of Representatives. But for the purpose of this blog and the issues it deals with, let's talk about Johnson's long history of homophobia. And it is vicious. CNN just published a huge article on it.

The following is an excerpt. I encourage folks to read the entire piece:

 In editorials that ran in his local Shreveport, Louisiana, paper, The Times, Johnson called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.” And, in another editorial, he wrote, “Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do,” he wrote. “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.” 

 At the time, Johnson was an attorney and spokesman for Alliance Defense Fund, known today as Alliance Defending Freedom, where he also authored his opposition to the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas – which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual activity between consenting adults. 

 ADF wrote an amicus brief in the case which supported maintaining criminalization. “States have many legitimate grounds to proscribe same-sex deviate sexual intercourse,” Johnson wrote in a July 2003 op-ed, calling it a public health concern. “By closing these bedroom doors, they have opened a Pandora’s box,” he added.

 . . . In the mid-2000s, Johnson’s anti-gay rhetoric was harsh. In September 2004, Johnson wrote in support of a Louisiana amendment banning same-sex marriage saying it could lead to people marrying their pets. 

 “Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural and, the studies clearly show, are ultimately harmful and costly for everyone,” he wrote. “Society cannot give its stamp of approval to such a dangerous lifestyle. If we change marriage for this tiny, modern minority, we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection. They already are. There will be no legal basis to deny a bisexual the right to marry a partner of each sex, or a person to marry his pet.”

Unfortunately, the CNN article omitted the fact that the Alliance Defending Freedom is now considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (for amplifying the rhetoric Johnson espoused no doubt). Still, the article is much needed.

I don't fear Johnson's ascension as Speaker. To the contrary, I welcome it. Now more people can see what I have been talking about on this blog for the past 17 years.  In fact, it was the kind of rhetoric which Johnson spewed which led to create this blog. 

Johnson is a throwback to the days when junk science and cherry-picked studies about gay sex and LGBTQ lives were popular with the conservatives. None of that passive-aggressive mess they presently engage in. None of those weasel words such as 'sexualization' or 'grooming' they presently use. In the days in which Johnson worked at the ADF, conservatives openly labeled all of us degenerates and spun awful lies about how they imagined we were having sex, making sure to include wild embellishments from carrots to gerbils.

The irony is that when I now tell younger gays folks all about it (particularly the part about talking openly and affirmatively about criminalizing gay sex), they either laughed or espoused disbelief.

But anti-LGBTQ propaganda was real then as it is now. What's more, it continues to be dangerous.  It's not about religious beliefs or protecting kids. It's not about protecting morality and values. It's about lies, hatred and demagoguery disguised as simple religious beliefs. 

 And now it has a special spotlight in the House of Representatives for us all to see and hear.

'The Out 100: 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People' & other Wed midday news briefs

The Out 100: 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People - Didn't make the list. But still working on it for the future. 

Tennessee GOP plans to reject $1.8 billion rather than follow federal LGBTQ mandates - As long as folks in Tennessee continue to elect these people, they will get what they get.