By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2012 8:25 AM ET
The Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, two groups that represent a broad spectrum of gay and conservative voters and their allies, praised former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for selecting Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate in statements that focused on his plans for the economy, not his record on LGBT rights.
GOProud, the only national gay group that has endorsed Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, issued the most effusive approval. Jimmy LaSalvia, the group’s executive director, called Ryan, a seven-term incumbent and chairman of the House Budget Committee, “a bold and inspired pick.”
“Paul Ryan is one of the few political leaders anywhere in the country willing to tell the American people the truth about the unprecedented budget crisis we are facing, and – more importantly – willing to put forward bold plans to put this country back on the road to fiscal solvency,” he said about the architect of the Republicans’ Path to Prosperity budget proposal.
Following weeks of speculation, Romney formally announced Ryan as his pick shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday on the mobile phone application, Mitt’s VP. “Mitt’s choice for VP is Paul Ryan, Spread the word about America's Comeback Team. #RomneyRyan2012".
Reviews of Ryan’s record indicate that he has voted overwhelmingly against LGBT rights. He voted twice for the federal constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, and supported the ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions approved by Wisconsin voters in 2006. Ryan voted against “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and hate crimes legislation, but he voted for the Employment Non-discrimination Act in 2007, when it included protections for sexual orientation but not gender identity.
Both GOProud and Log Cabin cited the ENDA vote as evidence that a Romney/Ryan ticket would energize gay Republicans. Neither statement mentioned the other votes on LGBT issues.
“At the same time, Congressman Ryan’s 2007 vote in favor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and his consistent willingness to engage with Log Cabin on a range of issues speaks to his record as a fair-minded policymaker,” said Log Cabin’s executive director, R. Clarke Cooper, who praised Ryan’s economic proposals. “Overall, while Log Cabin Republicans have not completed the endorsement process for the 2012 presidential election, this is a choice that all Republicans can be excited about, and which sends a good message about the kind of campaign Governor Romney wants to run, and the kind of president Governor Romney wants to be.”
Romney and Ryan will be formally nominated by the Republican Party during the convention later this month in Tampa, Fla.