Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson is trying to distance himself from his deeply homophobic track record by claiming he can’t remember much of it.
During an interview on Fox News, Johnson was asked about comments he made while he was an attorney for the far-right Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom. During his tenure as senior attorney and spokesperson for ADF, he called homosexuality “sinful” and “destructive,” advocated against same-sex marriage, and pushed for the criminalization of gay sex.
Hearing his own comments repeated back to him by Fox’s Sean Hannity, Johnson said simply, “I don’t even remember some of them.”
Quickly moving on from the “I forgot” defense, Johnson argued that making homophobic statements was just a part of his job in defending the state marriage amendments, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
“I was a religious liberty defense lawyer, and I was called to go in and defend those cases in the court,” he said.
“I am a rule-of-law guy,” Johnson said. “When the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell opinion that became the law of the land, I respect the rule of law,” referring to the case that made same-sex marriage legal.
Despite his attempt to revise history, Johnson’s record speaks for itself. In September 2004, for example, the future House speaker wrote an op-ed for a local paper in Shreveport, Louisiana, in which he called homosexual relationships “unnatural,” “harmful,” and “dangerous.”
Johnson isn’t trying to be confusing. He admitted to Hannity that if people want to know what this “rule-of-law guy” believes, “go pick a Bible off your shelf and read it.”