U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has one pro-gay vote on his record, which was for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007. Gay rights opponents and proponents seem to agree that the vote is a blip on an otherwise unblemished right-wing record.
Recognizing his ENDA vote in the 2007 session of Congress, Ryan earned a 10 out of 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group. Before then and since, however, Ryan has earned zeros from HRC and his stable record against LGBT issues has raised questions about how he would vote if ENDA, which now includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reached the floor now.
Ryan’s staff has referred questions about his ENDA vote to the Romney campaign, which has dodged the issue.
Ryan’s record of voting against fairness, dignity and equality is out of touch with the majority of Americans and a fast growing majority of Republicans,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “LGBT Americans need leadership that will continue to fight for their rights to protect their families, marry the person they love, and enjoy equal protections under the law.”
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance expressed only minor annoyance with Ryan’s support for ENDA five years ago. She called the vote an anomaly.
“Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA … a long time ago, but voted right on the marriage amendment and supports the unborn. Plus, I get to pull back out my T-shirt from 2008 that says, ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’ Bonus.”
On other LGBT issues, Ryan has twice voted in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In 2003, he supported, the anti-gay Marriage Protection Act and voted in 1999 against allowing gay couples to adopt in the District of Columbia. He also voted against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that banned gays from serving openly in the Armed Forces. Ryan also has voted against hate crimes reform.
Ryan also staunchly opposes abortion rights, which prompted the Catholic Association to state, “We believe Gov. Romney has made an excellent choice. As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle – defending religious liberty, life and traditional marriage.”
UPDATE: At the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Aug. 29, Ryan accepted the GOP nomination for vice president. His speech, coming the day before Romney was to address the convention, focused on jobs, the economy, the president's record and his private life with his family in Janesville, Wis.
But Ryan also delivered a few targeted marks against gay marriage and reproductive freedom. He said, at one point, that Romney is a defender of marriage, a reference to the candidate's support for a constutitional amendment against gay marriage.