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Paul Ryan Elected House Speaker

Paul Ryan Elected House Speaker

Paul Ryan, R-Wis., accompanied by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner
Paul Ryan accompanied by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner

The former vice-presidential candidate won the top spot in the House of Representatives with a comfortable 236 votes. 

Wisconsin Republican and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has just been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, winning 236 votes on the House floor this morning, according to The New York Times.

"Let's be frank, the House is broken," Ryan said in his speech accepting the position this morning. "We are not solving problems We are adding to them. We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean."

At 45 years old, Ryan is the youngest person to hold the Speaker's gavel since 1898, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. But he appeared ready to get to work shortly after his election, sending out this tweet from his newly updated Twitter account, which now reads @SpeakerRyan.

Ryan succeeds Ohio Rep. John Boehner, who is retiring, and is likely to be just as much an impediment to LGBT-supportive legislation as Boehner has been.

Boehner has refused to bring antidiscrimination legislation to the House floor, despite the passage of such bills in the Senate. Ryan voted in favor of such legislation once -- in 2007, when the version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act under consideration covered only sexual orientation, not gender identity. But Ryan's vote came only after he tried to kill the bill by sending it back to committee.

He has since said he would probably vote for future antidiscrimination legislation, although he said he would need more information on the inclusion of gender identity. Also, although he voted against repealing "don't ask, don't tell," he subsequently called the matter a settled issue, saying he won't try to reinstate the discriminatory policy that barred U.S. servicemembers from coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Ryan's vote on ENDA in 2007 led one right-wing activist to call him a "Trojan horse" for the "homosexual lobby," but in reality Ryan's record is solidly anti-LGBT. As speaker, he would not generally vote on or cosponsor legislation, but he would set the agenda for the House, and he most likely would not prioritize LGBT-supportive bills.

Ryan was initially reluctant to consider the speakership, but last week decided he would run if Republicans would unify behind him in a race that was shaken up by California Rep. Kevin McCarthy's unexpected withdrawal.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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