When Mitt Romney announced this weekend that Paul Ryan, a young conservative Catholic from Wisconsin, would be his pick for vice president – we did some research. Not only was Ryan responsible for banning non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people in his home state of Wisconsin after much debate, but he said this as he greeted crowds on Saturday: “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”
Here are eight things you need to know about the seven-term congressman who, if Romney is elected, could be a heartbeat away from the most important job in the country:
1. Ryan would like to ban same-sex marriage. In fact, he voted in favor of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as a right only between one man and one woman.
2. The congressman’s own religion dictates much of his political policy. He’s staunchly pro-life and doesn’t believe in stem cell research, which could one day help eradicate diseases like M.S. and Alzheimer’s (Nancy Reagan and other leading Republican spokespeople have criticized their party for being reluctant to support this critical scientific research). He voted against both initiatives – several times – citing his religious beliefs.
3. He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, twice, though it was passed in 2009 to expand the 1969 United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. He supported a similar state constitutional ban on hate crimes in Wisconsin.
4. Ryan has tried to ban same-sex adoption in Washington, D.C. To put in bluntly: He doesn’t believe LGBT people should be adopting or raising children in this country. He also opposed repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” admitting that he doesn’t believe gay and lesbian people should serve in the military either. He also opposed domestic partnership in D.C. where same-sex marriage was eventually legalized.
5. He also echoes Romney’s views about LGBT people in the workplace. Romney has said he believes workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender are “an unfair burden on employers.” Both men support the National Organization of Marriage’s (NOM) “marriage pledge,” which seeks to pass a federal amendment to the constitution banning same-sex marriage (one of the first, besides prohibition, that would legislate discrimination) as well as a McCarthy-like commission that would spend time (and tax dollars) investigating people who support LGBT rights initiatives.
6. When asked about LGBT issues, Ryan repeatedly changes the subject, going so far as to call these issues “meaningless.” He has said, “I don’t know why we’re spending all this time talking about this.”
7. Ryan received a zero percent rating on HRC’s congressional score card for all of the reasons mentioned above. He has the lowest score among most Republicans.
8. Rick Santorum loves this guy. “In addition to Congressman Ryan’s stellar fiscal conservative positions, he is indeed a full-spectrum conservative,” said Santorum in a statement this weekend. “He is solidly pro-life, pro-family and will be an advocate for our military and our national security priorities. I look forward to supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket in the weeks to come.” If this isn’t enough to send voters in Pennsylvania to the polls for Obama, we don’t know what will.