Paul Ryan’s LGBT Rights Track Record
by Paul Vila | Miami Dade College
When Mitt Romney announced his running mate on August 11, 2012 in front of the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin, giving him the air of a leader of an imperialistic military power, it was none other than Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
While the media has been fixated on identifying Ryan with his fiscal conservatism, something that has been a hot topic for politics this year has yet to be discussed in-depth: Ryan’s position on the issues affecting the LGBT population of the United States. With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), President Obama’s announcement of support for same-sex marriage, and the Democratic Party finally backing same-sex marriage on its platform, the stride for equality has made immense gains over the course of the Obama administration. However, there are still very vocal and very influential groups and individuals who fail to recognize the impending wave of civil equality that’s bound to wash over the entire country.
One of the first attacks Ryan made against civil rights was in 1999, when he voted in favor of banning same-sex couples from adopting in the District of Columbia. In 2003, he supported the Marriage Protection Act, which would have prevented federal courts from overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Ryan voted twice in 2004 and 2006 for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have limited marriage in the United States to a union between a man and a woman. Earlier this year, in February, he voiced clear opposition to marriage equality on Meet the Press, and before that he voted against the repeal of DADT.
He has time and time again voted against discrimination legislation by recycling the excuse that it would allow activist judges to penalize employers. When the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, color me shocked, Ryan voted against it.
Congressman Ryan has clearly demonstrated himself to be a run of the mill anti-gay rights Republican who has shown little to no evolution in his views of civil liberties. Equality based on sexual orientation and gender identity is inevitable. And the Republican Party’s catering to a voter base that clings to a nostalgic notion of some past golden age of American society dominated by conservative values echoes the past few decades in which it was spectacular to be an American if you were a man, white, Christian, and well-off. Otherwise, if you were a woman, black, Jewish, anything that falls outside of strictly heterosexual leanings, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, Arabic, then the United States of America wasn’t as liberating a nation.
What will be interesting to see in this coming election is how the Log Cabin Republicans will try to excuse Ryan’s actions to their constituents. Hopefully people will be considering all of this before casting their vote and not paying attention to the fact that “Paul Ryan Shirtless” is trending on Google.Born and raised in the suburbs of Miami, Paul is a freshman and political science major at Miami Dade College. Ever since he was a child, he's always held a deep fascination with the political system of the Unites States, which eventually transformed him into an utter political junkie. His published writing began at his school newspaper, The Reporter, which has covered topics ranging from domestic to international issues. In his spare time, Paul enjoys cataloging any vegan recipe he can get his hands on.