Paul Ryan. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
GOP Rep. Paul Ryan reportedly has changed his views and now believes gay couples should be able to adopt children.
Asked at a town hall meeting Monday in Wisconsin about the issue, Ryan said he would "vote differently these days" and still opposes gay marriage. In 1999, the congressman voted in favor of banning same-sex couples in the District of Columbia from adopting.
"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. I would vote that way," Ryan says, according to video posted on the liberal Think Progress website.
While gay marriage and similar issues were not at the forefront of the 2012 presidential campaign, adoption by same-sex couples was an area where the GOP ticket differed. Mitt Romney has supported gay adoption since he was governor of Massachusetts but his running mate, Ryan, did not.
On the issue of gay marriage, Ryan repeated at the town hall that he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman. We just respectfully disagree on the issue." There has been heightened interest in gay marriage since the Supreme Court heard challenges on two related cases in March. Ryan said at the town hall meeting that if the justices determine that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, then he believes it will become a "federalism" issue for states to decide.
WKOW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Madison, Wis., said Ryan's gay adoption comment was the "biggest surprise of the afternoon" but it did not post tape of his comments. Ryan apparently changed his mind on the issue years ago, but the TV station said this is the first time he has talked about it publicly.