JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI District 1) listened for over an hour as dozens of people expressed anxiety over the nation's budget and other issues at a listening session in his hometown. While his comments on fiscal matters were consistent with his past views, his comments on the issue of gay civil rights were markedly different.
More than 50 people showed up at a hotel conference room wanting answers about why there is no movement on the sequester or the budget.
Congressman Ryan shifted the blame for both of those issues on to President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate, saying he has offered bills to stop the sequester which they have flatly rejected.
Democrats have also played that blame game, even though both the House and Senate have now passed respective budgets. But Rep. Ryan says it is far too soon for both sides to sit down and hammer out a compromise version that President Obama can sign.
"What I'm trying to do is sort of have the kinds of conversations where we can find out where is that common ground, get an agreement and then go put that together in the conference committee," said Rep. Ryan. "Because if we go to conference right now, I'll tell you, it will just be a partisan shouting match. I don't want to have a partisan shouting match. I want something productive."
A conference committee is convened when the Senate and House are ready to bring two versions of the same bill in line to match.
But, an off-handed remark Rep. Ryan made in answer to a different question brought the biggest surprise of the afternoon. When a constituent asked Congressman Ryan why he still doesn't support gay marriage, Ryan said he simply believes marriage should be exclusive to a man and a woman. But Ryan then said he has changed his opinion on gay adoption and now supports it.
In 1999, Ryan voted to ban gay adoption in the District of Columbia, but says he has since concluded that gay people should be considered as acceptable parents for orphaned children in need of a loving home
When asked if he just recently came to that conclusion, Congressman Ryan said it was something he changed his mind on years ago. But it appears this is the first time he's talked about it publicly.
Congressman Ryan's changing attitude on gay adoption is in line with a growing majority of Americans. A Dec. 2012 Gallup Poll showed that 61 percent of respondents approved of gay men and women adopting children.