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Queer Talk: Paul Ryan’s Position on LGBT Rights

by Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.

The short answer to the question of where newly announced Romney running mate Paul Ryan stands regarding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons: he’s against them.

Or as John Aravosis describes Paul’s position on LGBT rights:

Absolutely awful. He voted once for ENDA, then turned around and voted against it (likely when the religious right got a hold of him). That’s it. Otherwise he’s been terrible on everything. …

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 didn’t last long, however. When Republicans unsuccessfully tried a parliamentary maneuver to shelve the bill after 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 had voted for just moments before.

A kind of “I was for it before I was against it” thing.

Read Pam Spaulding’s take here.

From Lucas Grindley at The Advocate:

… Ryan twice voted in support of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. …

Ryan voted in 1999 in favor of banning same-sex couples from adopting in the District of Columbia … .

Ryan voted against repealing DADT … .

… when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, Ryan voted against it.

Chris Geidner, at Buzz Feed:

… As recently as this May, Ryan voted for an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act ‘to prohibit the use of funds to be used in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act.’ …

The Log Cabin Republicans have not yet, as today’s press statement put it, “completed the endorsement process for the 2012 presidential election,” but they put as strong as spin as possible on the announcement about Ryan, initially supporting their assertion of Ryan as a “strong choice” by focusing, not on LGBT rights but with this, LCR Ex. Director R. Clarke Cooper:

‘As chairman of the House Budget Committee and author of the Republican ‘path to prosperity’ that provided the blueprint for serious spending cuts in this Congress, nobody is more qualified to articulate a conservative economic vision to restore the American economy and stimulate job creation.’

Cooper then turns to a specific LGBT focus, mentioning that one 2007 vote in favor of the ENDA (but not that Ryan turned around and voted against it, or mention of his LGBT related voting record in general), and argues that with that single vote,

… and his consistent willingness to engage with Log Cabin on a range of issues speaks to his record as a fair-minded policymaker.

Whatever else Ryan brings to the GOP 2012 ticket, he provides the right-wing “social issues” crowd with a reason to vote Republican.

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10 Responses to Queer Talk: Paul Ryan’s Position on LGBT Rights

  1. fangio August 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    If Log Cabin Republicans support this this piece of garbage they should be sent to Michelle Bachmann’s husband for sexual re-adjustment therapy. The sessions should be taped and freely available on TMZ.

    • Joyce Arnold August 11, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      It’s going to be interesting to see what LCR does, but my guess — especially given the spin regarding Ryan — is that they’ll end up endorsing the ticket. Hope I’m wrong about that.

      • newdealdem1 August 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

        I think you are absoultely right about that, Joyce. I think the LCR will endorse the ticket. Look,, I can deal with gay men and women who are fiscal conservatives (not Ayn Rand conservatives) while advocating a more liberal stance on social issues. And, I mean all of the social issues, not just for gay rights but for women’s rights to include autonomy over our physical selves including the right to an abortion which was constitutionally protected last time I checked, immigration reform, voting rights upheld, and even to some extent supporting some form of the social safety net. We can debate fiscal issues like adults that’s fine even if we may never agree. I guess I’m describing MODERATES.

        But, I’m conflicted about LCR’s because there are too many contradictions in the GOP at the moment regarding the gays that would cause even the most even tempered person who is gay and a conservative to pause before they sign up as Republicans rather than Libertarians, for example. Or, more readily as independents.

        Also, and this is not a dig against gay men but most of those who do belong to the LCR’s are gay men and not gay women (who are members but not in droves). There is a reason for that statistic, that’s not a coincidence. But, women no matter what our sexuality are more apt to join the Democratic party or Green Party or be Independent rather than join the GOP whilst men no matter their sexuality are more apt to be drawn to the GOP or Libertarian Parties. And, there is a reason for that historically and in our times.

        Frankly, I do see the LTR’s as appeasers in their own oppression.

        • newdealdem1 August 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

          Typo: LCR’s not LTR’s in that last sentence.

          • Joyce Arnold August 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

            LCR still catches grief for their decision not to endorse Bush in 2004. The GOP has moved so much further Right by now that W. almost looks semi-moderate. But, in part because of that consistent Rightward movement, I’m guessing Log Cabin will announce their endorsement of the R&R ticket, in an attempt to at least stay somewhere on the edges of the Big Tent. That terrible attempt to spin Ryan as pro-gay certainly seems to signal that decision.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter August 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Of COURSE they’ll endorse them….they are the moral equivalent of Jews for Hitler or the Jewish Kapos who actually ran the death camps for the Nazis and were even MORE brutal then their overlords to impress them and buy a little more time for themselves. Although LCR are, if possible, even MORE loathsome as they are in it for MONEY.

    • Joyce Arnold August 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      The majority of LGBT people I know who identify as Republican do so on fiscal and “small government” grounds. And none of them are members of Log Cabin, and certainly not of the even more conservative GoProud. That’s kind of interesting to me. Of course, the majority of LGBTs I know who identify as Democratic don’t belong to the Stonewall Democrats, either.

  3. RAJensen August 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Still thinking about about wasting your vote Joyce?

    • Joyce Arnold August 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      I don’t know why your comment ended up in moderation, RA, but when I saw it, I approved it.

      As to your comment, I don’t accept your understanding of “wasting” a vote. For me, this has always been about much more than 2012 and Obama/Biden vs. Romney/Ryan, or whoever else Romney might have picked.

      • RAJensen August 13, 2012 at 7:06 am #


        Here s an interesting NY Times article. The Army has promoted its first openly gay career officer to the flag rank of Brigadier General. If it were not for President Obama this career officer could have been dismissed from the Army since she was openly gay under ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. Contrary to your view President Obama has done more for the LBGT commiunity than any politician and I don’t understand your bitterness that President Obama hasn’t done enough for the LBGT community. .

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