House Speaker Mike Johnson collaborated with a group that promoted the bogus “conversion therapy,” which promised to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to heterosexual. A CNN KFile investigation of over a dozen of Johnson’s media appearances during that era shows that before joining politics, the lawyer represented Exodus International and helped arrange an annual adolescent anti-gay rally.
The 1976 “ex-gay” movement, which Exodus International helped start, used religion and counseling-based conversion treatment to straighten homosexuals. Exodus International linked ministries worldwide using controversial means. In 2013, the organization split after its founder apologized for causing “hurt and misery” Many notable medical organizations oppose conversion therapy because it harms LGBTQ people who are already struggling.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative legal advocacy group, employed Johnson. Between 2006 and 2010, his band collaborated with Exodus. Johnson and Exodus worked together for years on the “Day of Truth,” an ADF event that began in 2005 as a reaction to the “Day of Silence,” when LGBTQ teens stayed silent in school to raise awareness of bullying. Day of Truth tried to shatter the silence by distributing knowledge about the “dangerous” LGBT lifestyle, Johnson said.
“I mean, our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are qualities we birth with that we cannot modify,” Johnson told a radio host in 2008 to promote the event. The LGBT Education Network and other adult advocacy groups endorse particular behavior. Being homosexual is a mentality, not a psychological feature. KFile found that Louisiana Republican Johnson often denounced homosexuality in newspapers, radio, and TV. He openly supported gay sex’s ban and attributed it to the Roman Empire’s demise.