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Paul Ryan Visited Values Voters And Barely Talked About Marriage

The Republican vice presidential nominee addressed a social conservative audience, but made only one brief reference to marriage. Ryan never mentioned Obama's views on LGBT issues — a stark contrast to his discussion of abortion.

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Evan Vucci / AP

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan talked a lot about abortion and contraception at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Marriage and LGBT issues, not so much.

When Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan addressed the Values Voters Summit — a leading gathering of political social conservatives each year — one of the most striking statistics was the number of words spent on contraception and abortion v. the number of words spent on marriage and LGBT issues: 463 v. 15.

The balance appears to mark the Republican Party's shift away fron confrontation on the issue of marriage.

Ryan on contraception and abortion:

This is what happened to the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities this past January, when the new mandates of “Obamacare” started coming.  Never mind your own conscience, they were basically told, and from now on, you’re going to do things the government’s way. 

Ladies and gentlemen, you would be hard pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies than the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities. And now suddenly we have “Obamacare” bureaucrats presuming to dictate how they’re going to do it.  

As Governor Romney has said, this mandate is not a threat and insult to one religious group; it is a threat and insult to every religious group.  He and I are honored to stand with you, people of faith and concerned citizens, in defense of our religious liberty.  And I can assure you, when Mitt Romney is elected, we will get to work on day one to repeal that mandate and all of “Obamacare.” 

Finally, when he tries to make big government sound reasonable and inclusive, President Obama likes to say, we’re all in this together.  And here, too, he has another handy straw man.  Anyone who questions the wisdom of his policies must be lacking in compassion.  Who else would question him but those mean people who think that everybody has to go it alone and fend for themselves?  “We’re all in this together”; it has a nice ring.  For everyone who loves this country, it’s not only true but obvious.  Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born. 

Giving up any further pretense of moderation on this issue, and in complete disregard for millions of pro-life Democrats, President Obama has chosen to pander to the most extreme elements of his party.  In the Clinton years, the stated goal was to make abortion  safe, legal and rare.  But that was a different time and a different president.  Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion at any time, under any circumstance, and even at taxpayer expense. 

When you get past all of the president’s straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives. And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike.  We don’t write anyone off in America, especially those without a voice.  Every child has a place and purpose in this world.  Everyone counts, and in a just society, the law should stand on the side of life.

Ryan on marriage and LGBT rights, about his running mate, Mitt Romney:

Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best.

Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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