Republican Speaker of the House – and remotely possible but unlikely presidential candidate – Paul Ryan dodged a couple questions regarding North Carolina’s bathroom law, Mississippi’s religious liberty law, and laws in general that deal with LGBT issues.
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A reporter asked the Speaker about his position on North Carolina’s bathroom law and Mississippi’s religious liberty law:
“Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of significant national backlash against laws that target the LGBT community in North Carolina and Mississippi. Just this morning, Donald Trump said he opposes the law in North Carolina. Do you oppose these laws? – “
Ryan dissembled in response:
“I’m not going to comment on what various different states are doing. Again, all of our committees that have jurisdiction in this area look at this issue. But it’s not my place to get involved in what each state is doing. To be quite honest, I’m not sure of what all of the details of those laws are.”
The reporter pressed the Speaker further on “laws that discriminate against LGBT people” and whether they’re generally “a bad idea.”
“I think the way you phrased your question is a little odd. My record on this issue is pretty clear. I voted for it, gosh, back in 2005, 6. I can’t remember when that was exactly. Look, this is an issue that also deals with religious conscience and religious freedom as well. So, I think there’s got to be a well-maintained balance and I’m not sure what each of these states are doing. But this is something that, you know, members are going to work on their issue and speak their will, and I’ll leave it at that.”
The way the reporter had phrased his last question was more than “a little odd.” It was a totally loaded question. It assumed that everyone agreed that North Carolina’s bathroom law and Mississippi’s religious liberty law “discriminate against LGBT people.”
For whatever reason, Paul Ryan was afraid to commit to an opinion on the matter.