The president of the GOP-supporting LGBTQ+ group, Log Cabin Republicans, says he’s still prepared to give the newly-elected House Speaker, Mike Johnson, the “benefit of the doubt”.
Charles Moran’s comments came in an interview with Business Insider yesterday. Moran said he’s already had a meeting with representatives for Johnson and is reserving judgment on the controversial GOP lawmaker.
Louisiana Rep. Johnson became Speaker last month following the ousting of Kevin McCarthy. Before his election, Johnson was little known outside of his home state and Capitol Hill.
Before entering politics, he worked as an attorney and fought against advances in LGBTQ+ rights, including same-sex marriage. In 2003, he wrote a legal argument on why states should be allowed to criminalize same-sex sexual activity. In an interview in 2008, Johnson said the fall of the Roman Empire was in part due to homosexual activity.
After he became speaker, in a more recent interview, Johnson said anyone who wants to understand his view on anything merely needs to read a Bible.
Log Cabin Republicans offer congratulations
On Johnson’s election, Log Cabin Republicans issued a congratulatory statement saying, “Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Rep. Michael Johnson on his election to become the 56th Speaker of the House of Representatives. As Speaker and the leader of the GOP in the House, it will be imperative that he work to implement an agenda that advances the interests of all Americans.”
Business Insider asked Moran what the group meant by advancing the “interests of all Americans.”
Moran said he preferred to offer Johnson a carrot rather than beat him with a stick.
“I want to always start with a carrot, I want to be able to give folks the benefit of the doubt.”
He pointed out that Johnson was now not only acting on behalf of Louisiana.
“Now that they’re in a different type of leadership role where they have a much larger constituency to take into consideration, what I want to be able to do is provide them with the ammunition and the backup to show that a vast majority of not just Americans, but Republicans in this country, support equality and equal access for the LGBT community — the Ls, the Gs, the Bs, and the Ts.”
Does Mike Johnson know any gay people?
Moran said he wanted to reserve judgment on Johnson until he heard if the speaker has any gay friends.
“Not to predetermine or predispose the speaker, I just don’t know how many gay people he knows. His district is very deeply red, it’s socially very conservative. My family’s from Louisiana, so I know the culture. But that’s not to predispose people for being hateful, who are from the South. They’re some of the nicest, kindest people.”
Moran said he’d already set up a meeting between himself and some of Johnson’s senior staff. He didn’t go into details about the discussions. He said it was more to get a rough idea of where Johnson lay on certain positions and whether they might work together.
“Some things they had answers to, some things they didn’t,” said Moran.
“But moving forward as speaker, again, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt, because now he’s got a much larger constituency, and quite honestly, really big issues.
“The two things that we came away with from that conversation was one, the speaker is not looking to re-litigate settled law. So I took that as, you know, things like Obergefell, things like Respect for Marriage, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, you know, any of the stuff that has been voted on or just settled already. He’s not necessarily looking to deal with that, so that’s very helpful for me.”
Moran’s second takeaway is that Johnson seeks “to build consensus to get bills passed.”
Meghan McCain calls Johnson a “raging homophobe”
Moran’s desire to give Johnson the “benefit of the doubt” is not shared by all those on the political right.
On news of his election, former The View co-host Meghan McCain tweeted, “So we just elected a raging homophobe to speaker…..? Way to break stereotypes and win over hearts and minds!”
So we just elected a raging homophobe to speaker…..?— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) October 25, 2023
Way to break stereotypes and win over hearts and minds!
Queer Congresswoman Angie Craig has a blunt message for new speaker Mike Johnson
Read More in Impact
The Latest on INTO
Subscribe to get a twice-weekly dose of queer news, updates, and insights from the INTO team.
in Your Inbox