Rep. Paul Ryan, who today formally declared his candidacy to be the next speaker of the U.S. House, is so pro-gay that he’s “the homosexual lobby’s Trojan horse” — at least, so says right-wing leader Eugene Delgaudio.
Delgaudio and his archconservative group, Public Advocate of the U.S., ran an ad last week on The Drudge Report with a picture of Ryan and the text “Stop Paul Ryan, the Homosexual Lobby’s Trojan Horse for Speaker,” The Washington Post reports. A click on the ad took viewers to an anti-Ryan petition sponsored by Public Advocate, saying among other things that Ryan wants to grant “‘protected class’ status to sexual deviants.”
The basis for Delgaudio’s assertion that Ryan is a secret weapon for the “homosexual lobby”? The lone gay-supportive vote of the Wisconsin Republican’s congressional career — in 2007, Ryan voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This version addressed discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, and the lack of coverage for the latter led some LGBT groups to oppose it.
Still, that limited version of ENDA would have protected gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans against workplace discrimination, and Ryan was among the representatives who gave ENDA its only victory in the House (no version was ever passed by both chambers). However, his yes vote came just after he backed a “motion to recommit,” which would have sent the bill back to committee and essentially killed it. That motion failed.
In his petition, Delgaudio calls ENDA the “Gay Bill of Special Rights” and says it “threatens the religious freedoms of private businesses and religious institutions who seek to uphold traditional morality in their hiring practices and everyday operations.” He also says Ryan cosponsored the bill, but according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, Ryan has not cosponsored any version of ENDA.
Delgaudio reiterated his points in an interview published today by The Daily Beast, saying the congressman’s vote for ENDA “is an indication that Mr. Ryan will continue this assault on Christian and traditional value believers.”
In reality, Ryan’s voting record is solidly anti-LGBT. He voted twice to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, voted against LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation, voted against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and voted to ban adoption by same-sex couples in the District of Columbia, over which Congress exerts some control.
In 2013, Ryan reversed course somewhat, saying he had come to support gay couples’ right to adopt and would probably vote for ENDA (now replaced by the more comprehensive Equality Act, which has yet to receive a vote), but would need to do further study of transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation. And after the repeal of DADT, he conceded that it was a settled issue and there was no point in trying to reverse it.
Delgaudio has a long record of virulently anti-LGBT statements and actions, both as president of Public Advocate and as a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in northern Virginia. In 2010, after the county board voted to include sexual minorities in its nondiscrimination policy, he wrote in his constituent newsletter, “If a man dressed as a woman wants a job, you have to treat ‘it’ the same as a normal person.” In 2012, Public Advocate took a gay couple’s copyrighted photo from their New York wedding off the men’s website and used it in an attack ad against a pro-gay Colorado politician.
That year the group also urged the Boy Scouts of America not to allow gay troop leaders, doing so by creating a song likening gay Scout leaders to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, who had been on the football coaching staff at Penn State University. And a 2011 Public Advocate email denouncing a congressional bill to protect LGBT students from discrimination said such legislation would “require schools to teach appalling homosexual acts” and “create a new America based on sexual promiscuity.”
Delgaudio proposes a surprising alternative choice for House speaker: Democrat Jim Webb, the onetime Navy secretary and former U.S. senator from Virginia, who has a far more pro-LGBT record than Ryan. Webb just withdrew from the Democratic presidential race and is considering running as an independent. “He’s available, isn’t he? I think I would trust him ahead of Mr. Ryan as far as sticking to his guns and not compromising,” Delgaudio told the Beast.
The speaker is generally drawn from the majority party but technically doesn’t have to be, and also doesn’t have to be a member of the House, although such a choice would be unprecedented. And Ryan now seems assured to be elected speaker next week, being so "LGBT-friendly" that he’s won the support of a supermajority of the House’s far-right Freedom Caucus. Members of the Freedom Caucus were apparently fooled by the Trojan horse.