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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 44
Homophobe Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House
Section One
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Homophobe Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has one of the most anti-Gay voting records in Congress - so bad, in fact, that HRC has consistently given him a 0 rating in his nine terms in Congress.

According to the ACLU, Ryan has held 'almost uniformly harmful views on five key civil liberties issues, including a humane immigration policy, LGBT equality, reproductive rights, torture and indefinite detention, and fair voting access.'

Ryan has always had a reputation as a hard worker, and he certainly worked long and hard to earn his reputation as one of Congress's most anti-Gay members.

In 1999, during his first term, Ryan voted to bar same-sex couples from adopting children in the District of Columbia, over which Congress has administrative oversight.

In 2003, Ryan voted for the Marriage Protection Act, which would have barred federal courts from considering the constitutionality of DOMA and possibly overturning it.

Ryan twice voted in support of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment to make discrimination against same-sex couples part of the U.S. Constitution - once in 2004 and again in 2006.

Ryan also voted no on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.

And in 2011, Ryan voted against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

In the one case where Ryan is on record supporting LGBT rights - his vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2007 - his position was ambiguous.

In the complex maneuvering before the final up-or-down vote on the bill, Ryan voted for a Republican-sponsored 'motion to recommit' - in other words, to kill ENDA for the session by sending it back to committee without a vote.

Only after that motion was defeated did he switch to supporting the bill.

The 2007 version of ENDA, which passed the House but was not taken up in the Senate, included protections only for sexual orientation. He declined to say whether he would support the updated version that included protections for Transgender workers until 2013, when he said he was studying the Trans issue but would probably support the bill if it came up for a vote.

Of course by 2013 Republicans controlled the House, and their leadership prevented any pro-LGBT bills from coming up for votes.

As the ACLU pointed out in its statement, LGBT folks are not Ryan's only target. For example, Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which made it easier for women who are victims of paycheck discrimination to sue their employers.

As speaker, Ryan would not vote on legislation or sponsor it, but he will set the agenda for each congressional session and work with committee chairs to decide which bills get hearings and ultimately come up for votes.

Ryan will also be third in line for the presidency, after Vice President Joe Biden.

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