(Photo: American Conservative Union/Eric Draper)
Rep. Paul Ryan, last year's Republican vice presidential nominee, said Monday that he regretted voting to ban same-sex couples in the District of Columbia from adopting children.
Ryan, who is considered a possible presidential nominee for 2016, was answering questions from his constituents in Janesville, Wis. An audience member asked him about his positions on same-sex marriage, the Employer Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and allowing gay couples to adopt children.
"Adoption, I would vote differently these days," Ryan answered. "That was a vote I think I took in my first term, in 1999 or 2000. I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple, I think if a person wants to love and raise a child they ought to be able to do that. Period. So, I would vote that way."
On EDNA, Ryan explained that he supports the principle that someone should not be discriminated against in workplace hiring and firing decisions based upon sexual orientation, and he has voted in favor of previous versions of EDNA. When the questioner interrupted to ask about including language for transgender individuals, Ryan answered that he would have to take a closer look at the bill and does not want to make a "knee jerk" decision.
On the issue of marriage, Ryan explained that he is not in support of redefining it to include same-sex couples.
"I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman. We just respectfully disagree with each other on that. I understand that's a tough issue," Ryan said.
The questioner asked him again to explain, specifically, why he thinks gay and lesbian couples should not be allowed to marry.
Ryan answered that he has always supported civil unions to provide for estate planning, hospital visitation rights and "things like that" for same-sex couples.
He then added, "in society, there ought to be a high value placed upon marriage between a man and a woman, and other contractual relationships, government ought to be able to recognize so people can live together in civil unions and things like that."
A video of Ryan's answers was uploaded to YouTube by ThinkProgress, a liberal advocacy organization.