ICYMI: Ron Johnson’s Record of Opposing LGBT+ Rights

Jun 16, 2022

ICYMI: Ron Johnson’s Record of Opposing LGBT+ Rights 

“…Johnson earned scores of zero [from the Human Right Campaign] for both the 115th and 116th Congresses — indicating that he voted against equal rights at every opportunity. 

MADISON, Wis. — Going into Pride Month, The American Independent released a new report, detailing Ron Johnson’s history of voting against the LGBT+ community. 

The American Independent: Meet an anti-LGBTQ Senate candidate: Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin

  • From his first Senate campaign in 2010 to his current re-election bid, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has almost always come down against protecting LGBTQ rights, earning him a 0 score from the Human Rights Campaign.
  • While Johnson’s campaign site makes no mention of his position on equality, a review of his votes and statements over the past 12 years makes it clear that he does not believe in equal rights for LGBTQ Americans.
  • Last year, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a major piece of LGBTQ rights legislation. The bill, which would expressly add protections for LGBTQ people to existing civil rights laws, has stalled in the Senate — where a 60-vote supermajority is required to advance most bills — thanks to opposition from Republicans including Johnson.
  • “I don’t have time to get into all the potential problems with that,” Johnson told a Janesville, Wisconsin, radio station last March while speaking about the bill. “I don’t think it has a chance in the Senate, which is a good thing for America. By the way, I’m all for equality. I’m just not for their version of equality.”
  • This is hardly the first LGBTQ civil rights law that Johnson has opposed.
  • In 2015, he voted to allow service providers to discriminate against LGBTQ homeless and runaway youths.
  • In 2013, Johnson voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would have explicitly barred businesses from discriminating against job candidates and employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Johnson ran in 2010 as a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. “I’m a pretty traditional guy. I believe in a culture of life and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said on his campaign website.
  • Once the Supreme Court issued its landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling guaranteeing all adult couples the freedom to marry regardless of their sexes in 2015, Johnson repeatedly joined unsuccessful efforts to grant special legal protections to anti-LGBTQ bigots who disagreed with the decision.
  • In 2016, Johnson drew national attention for failing to acknowledge that the deadly Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, was a hate crime against the LGBTQ community.
  • Johnson has been open about his transphobia. At a March 2022 virtual town hall, he argued that transgender girls and women should not be able to participate in sports or use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
  • “…Johnson earned scores of zero [from the Human Right Campaign] for both the 115th and 116th Congresses — indicating that he voted against equal rights at every opportunity. In contrast, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) — Wisconsin’s openly gay junior senator — has a perfect 100 score from the LGBTQ rights organization.
  • Johnson did, however, receive a 100% rating from FRC Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated that group as an “anti-LGBTQ hate group.”
  • Recent polling has shown Johnson is facing an uphill battle for re-election, with approval ratings in the low to mid-30% range.