Paul Ryan on Social Issues: Where Does He Stand?

Where does VP pick Paul Ryan stand on abortion, guns, gay rights, immigration?

ByABC News
August 13, 2012, 11:07 AM

Aug. 13, 2012 -- Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate set off weekend-long debates about the young Wisconsin rep's fiscal policies, but less was said about his stance on social issues. Where does Romney's running mate stand on such issues as abortion and gun rights?


Ryan is firmly against abortion rights. He has an 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest anti-abortion rights organization. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that would define human life as beginning at conception.

President Obama tweeted earlier today: "Make sure the women in your life know: Paul Ryan supports banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest."

Ryan, however, has said that he was willing to disagree, "with mutual respect," with others on the issue.

Gay Rights

Ryan's record on gay rights is mixed, and gay rights is one issue on which Ryan and Romney disagree somewhat. Ryan's said he's anti-same-sex marriage, and he's voted against adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Romney has said he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt.

But Ryan did break with his party to vote for the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Romney has said that he would not support that legislation at the federal level, saying those decisions should be made by the states.


An avid outdoorsman who hunts, Ryan has received an "A" record from the National Rifle Association for his stance and voting record on gun rights. In the past, Ryan has voted "yes" on the Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill, which would prohibit "misuse" lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and "no" on the 72 Background Check Amendment, which would increase the required background check time period for purchasing a gun from 24 hours to 72 hours.


Ryan voted against the Dream Act, legislation that would offer a route to citizenship to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and had gone to college here. On his congressional website, Ryan said that the legislation "attempts to treat a symptom, rather than the root cause, of our current problem." Ryan favors placing a priority on securing the border, "developing a more secure employee verification system" and working on creating "an enforceable guest worker program."

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