The House Republican conference today officially chose Paul Ryan as its candidate for speaker by a vote of 200 to 43.
The Wisconsin representative and former vice-presidential candidate's speakership will be voted on by the full House tomorrow, and approval is expected. He will succeed 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 and won't try to reinstate the discriminatory policy.
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. Tomorrow's vote will probably be more unified among Republicans than today's was, MSNBC reports, as today members of the far-right Freedom Caucus continued supporting their pick, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida. They are expected to unite behind Ryan tomorrow, while many Democrats may vote for one of their own, such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who held the speaker's post the last time Democrats had a majority of seats in the House. However, Ryan remains predited to win.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.