BY NATASHA BARSOTTI –
Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt
Romney's recently anointed running mate for the 2012 American election, voted
against hate crimes legislation, voted for a constitutional amendment
that would ban same-sex couples from marrying (and also supported a
similar amendment in his home state), voted against allowing gay and
lesbian couples in the US capital to adopt, and opposed repeal of the
Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, the Human Rights Campaign
points out on its web blog Aug 11.
And according to Michelangelo Signorile,
HuffPost Gay Voices' editor-at-large, Ryan "actually tried to kill a gay rights bill just minutes before he
voted 'aye.'" The bill in question: the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act (ENDA), which died in the Senate. Interestingly, that tepid nod Ryan
made in the direction of gay rights puts him to the left of contemporary
Romney, who, according to the Human Rights Campaign, "views workplace
protections for queer Americans as an 'unfair burden on employers.'"
Back in 1994, Romney supported ENDA when he ran for the Senate,
Signorile points out.
But Obama himself has been slow to act on federal workplace protections for queers. The news site Roll Call
notes that gay rights groups have been urging the administration to go
the executive order route and ban discrimination against queers by
federal contractors, even as ENDA is going nowhere fast because of a
deeply divided Congress. But the White House has resisted, it says.
the Romney-Ryan union might be a match made in the rightwing
version/vision of heaven, Signorile says the ticket highlights the
glaring choice for voters "not just on the role of the federal
government in the lives of Americans, but also on a civil rights issue
of our time."
Meanwhile, Roll Call says Obama supporters are killing themselves — laughing, that is — over Romney's selection of GOP veep hopeful.
But the GOP is making much of Ryan's "youthful" 42. He's been touted as a
gym rat, a fitness nut and "almost a pro-skier" — in addition to being a
fan of Nirvana. But Daily Kos's Karl Frisch pooh-poohs the blatant tactical hype in the midst of declining poll numbers and evolving demographic trends.