By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2012 12:56 AM ET
Mitt Romney's pick for Rep. Paul Ryan as running mate means he's chosen a potential vice president who matches his views on LGBT rights, and who is on the record with votes against those rights in Congress.
Romney announced his pick Saturday morning with the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin in the background, though Chuck Todd of NBC News interrupted Olympics coverage on Friday to be first with the news.
Romney supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. And Ryan twice voted in support of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006.
“Marriage is not simply a legal arrangement between individuals," he said in a statement after casting his vote. "The institution of marriage is an integral part of our civil society and its significance goes well beyond eligibility for benefits and similar considerations. Its future should not be left to a few overreaching judges or local officials to decide.”
Also, as a U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s first congressional district, Ryan was more recently faced with a ballot question in his home state on whether to ban marriage equality. He again lined up against marriage equality when asked about the initative during a February appearance on Meet the Press. At the time, he pointed to President Obama's former opposition to same-sex marriage to help justify his own view, and he cited President Clinton as having signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which the former president no longer supports.
In 2003, Ryan voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Act, which would have prevented federal courts from considering and possibly overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. Romney also backs DOMA.
Ryan voted in 1999 in favor of banning same-sex couples from adopting in the District of Columbia, over which Congress often exerts control. And although Romney acknowledges it's legal for gays and lesbians to adopt in many places, he doesn't go so far as to support it. In fact, he brags about siding with the Catholic Church in Massachusetts as governor as it sought an exemption that would have let it discriminate in adoptions and in foster care despite receiving government money.
Ryan also lined up with Romney on repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" when it came before Congress in 2011. Ryan voted against repealing DADT, and Romney was outspoken in his opposition to repeal. Since then, though, Romney has said reinstating DADT would be unnecessary.
Romney's record on the need for hate crimes laws is unclear. But when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, Ryan voted against it.
One area where the two differ is on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Ryan voted in 2007 in favor of the law, which would have prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation but did not yet include gender identity. Romney was once also in favor of ENDA but changed his mind.
Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994 that he would sponsor ENDA if elected to the U.S. Senate. Then in 2006 he told National Journal that ENDA would “open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.” He dismissed ENDA, saying, "I don’t see the need for new or special legislation."