|At 42, Paul Ryan out-of-step with his generation|
Stark contrast to the 69 year-old Biden
On paper, you’d think a 42 year-old Republican would be up to speed on marriage rights, and might even, given his age, be tolerant.
To my surprise, Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, U.S. Congressman Paul D. Ryan from Wisconsin, is not only no ally to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities—he’s completely ignorant of our struggle.
When it comes to the issue of marriage equality Ryan has consistently voted it down.
In defending his stalwart stance for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage Ryan stated, “I believe fundamentally that marriage is between a man and a woman. Although I support the constitutional amendment to protect marriage, that process cannot continue at this time given the failed attempt by the U.S. Senate to advance the amendment. Meanwhile, states could be forced to accept same-sex marriages because of a few judges in Massachusetts."
Ryan made that statement in September 2004, just four months after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. In 2012, his position hasn’t altered.
When Ryan was asked once again about his stance on same-sex marriage he stated on Meet the Press in February that he “… supported the Wisconsin amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman."
One of Romney's objectives in selecting Ryan is to entice young voters, a constituency Romney hopes will come out for his ticket in November in numbers comparable to that of Obama's 2008 campaign. In having a young energetic and relatable candidate like Ryan, it revs up Romney’s campaign that has been uninspiring to young conservative voters.
But Ryan, 42, is an outlier for a generation of young conservatives, especially his stance on LGBTQ social issues. His barometer on queer social issues is not only way off but it’s also not in lockstep with young social conservatives who have clearly articulated that discrimination against marriage equality is not the government’s business.
"I don't really care about the social stuff," Millersville University student Jordan Smith told reporter Lauren Fox of US News. "I think it's big government when the government tells you who you can and cannot marry and that's not conservative."
With this younger generation of conservatives exposed to same-gender families, classmates, peers, educators, etc., and some who are LGBTQ themselves, their focus is on issues like the economy, jobs and military.
"We're worried about getting jobs after graduation...Gay marriage isn't as important of an issue for me." Lindsay Matera, a freshman at Roger Williams University, told US News.