Huffington Post: Paul Ryan on Gay Rights – ‘I Don’t Know Why We Are Talking About This’

August 13 3 Comments Category: Blogs, News

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Paul Ryan on Gay Rights: ‘I Don’t Know Why We Are Talking About This’

Mitt Romney’s running mate is a man who, like Romney himself, once supported gay rights — and I do mean just one time — only to run far away when he needed to genuflect before cultural conservatives. In an example of Romneyesque flip-floppery and just plain wimpiness, Rep. Paul Ryan actually tried to kill a gay rights bill just minutes before he voted “aye.” Or, as Paul Schindler at Gay City News puts it,“he voted against [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] before he voted for it.”

In 2007, Ryan was one of 35 Republicans to vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which at that time only proposed to protect against job bias based on sexual orientation, not gender identity or expression. Ryan’s advocacy that day was not unambiguous. When Republicans unsuccessfully tried a parliamentary maneuver to shelve the bill prior to its passage — with what is known as a motion to recommit — he joined 26 other GOP ENDA supporters in the unsuccessful effort to kill the bill they would vote for just moments later.

So, the Wisconsin Republican’s half-hearted support for ENDA puts him somewhat to the right of Earlier Mitt Romney (who unequivocally supported ENDA while running for the Senate in 1994, actually vowing to co-sponsor it and expand it to include housing and credit), but definitely to the left of Current Mitt Romney, who doesn’t support ENDA at all, now callously claiming it would harm businesses. It’s not clear whether Ryan still supports ENDA or not, and that’s a question reporters need to ask him, particularly since he may or may not be on the same page as Current Mitt Romney. It’s likely Ryan has flipped, too, though, since he took a lot of heat from conservatives after that vote on ENDA. (The bill died in the Senate.) It was the end of Ryan’s very brief and tepid flirtation with gay rights. He’d already voted twice, in 2004 and 2006, for a federal marriage amendment (which Romney supports), and after the ENDA vote Ryan twice voted against the hate crimes bill to protect LGBT Americans, including when it eventually passed and was signed into law by President Obama. Ryan also twice voted against ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010. In 2011, he supported a constitutional amendment in Wisconsin to ban marriage for gays and lesbians in the state’s constitution. Back in 1999, his first year in the House, Ryan voted to ban gays and lesbians in the District of Columbia from adopting children, and opposed establishing a domestic partnership registry in the District as well. All of that has added up to a a big fat zero, consistently, from the Human Rights Campaign on its congressional scorecard, except for the session in which Ryan voted for ENDA, when he scored a 10 out of 100. (Predictably, a fleeting 10 rating is enough to send validation-starved gay Republicans into spasms of delight over the choice of Ryan as Romney’s running mate.)

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3 Responses

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  1. So, I begin my comment with this….I am gay. the question I have for everyone that is the same or similar to me is this..exactly what is “gay rights”? Ladies and gentleman, Im sorry, but there is no such thing! The US Constitution speaks for all Americans. It doesnt leave out certain races nor does it mention and/or leave out homosexuals. So my comment for today is GET OVER IT! The gay population has no more and no fewer rights than a straight person. By shouting “We want gay rights”, you are only making a mockery of those of us that realize that we have the same rights as everyone else. Stop making an issue out of something you havent thought about. Stop following the idiots that are shouting this and most of all, stop making this a political issue. This country has much more to worry about than if there is such a thing called “gay rights”. Where were all of you “Paul Ryan Haters” BEFORE he was named the VP candidate? Where were all of you Mitt Romney haters BEFORE he became the candidate? Furthermore, have any of you realized the Mr. Obama once had the same opinion as Romney and Ryan? How soon we forget. Look, that is one of the many benefits of living in this country. We are all entitled to our own opinion. Just because people dont agree, doesnt mean that everyone with the opposite opinion as you is wrong. Its simply their opinion. Just as Mr. Obama, we also have the right to change our opinions (which we all know he only did this to gain votes). So, calm down and stop making a spectacle of yourselves. Let me end with this question….isnt it true that we dont like “gay haters”? If so, what makes it right for you to be a “straight hater”? This world would be a lot better off if WE ALL made an attempt to bring a little more peace in our lives. Try it, it works!

    justin 14 August 2012 at %I:%M %p Permalink
  2. Great response Justin. I have no idea why the so called “gay community”: has to think and behave like a cult.

    John 18 August 2012 at %I:%M %p Permalink
  3. If “The US Constitution speaks for all Americans”, then there would never have been slavery and segregation, women wouldn’t have had to fight for the right to vote, etc. The constitution didn’t leave out certain races, genders, classes, etc. because the wealthy, white men who wrote it knew that “All men … didn’t mean black or Native American men, women, or for that matter poor and uneducated white men. Would you have told black people to get over it when they were fighting for their civil rights? It’s the straight people who need to get over thinking that they are superior. You argue that we are all entitled to our own opinion but castigate gay people for having theirs. And some gay people having a different opinion than yours does not mean they haven’t thought about the issue. We aren’t making this a political issue. The people who want to legislate and treat us as if we don’t deserve everything thing we deserve are. And instead of acknowledging President Obama’s growth concerning gay issues you cynically say he just did it for votes. If supporting gay rights got you more votes why aren’t all the candidates doing it. I agree there are lots of important things this country needs to worry about and gay rights is one of them. For a gay person you sure seem to have the anti-gay attitude of a homophobic straight person. Your rant seems to say why can’t we just shut up, go back in the closet and stop stressing out the good straight people who tolerate and treat us better than we deserve. I’m not saying that’s what you meant. That’s just my opinion of what what came across.

    DEAN 19 August 2012 at %I:%M %p Permalink

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