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Paul Ryan Touts Traditional Marriage As A "Universal Human Value"

Ryan's most direct campaign comments on his opposition to same-sex couples' marriage rights. The international focus also contrasts with Secretary of State Clinton's comments on gay rights.

Posted on September 25, 2012, at 5:10 p.m. ET

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Vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan made some of the most direct comments regarding his opposition to gay couples marrying that he has made since being named as Mitt Romney's running mate earlier this summer.

"Traditional marriage," along with "family and entrepreneurship," are "American values" and "universal human values," Ryan said at a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, today. "These aren’t values that are indicative to any one person or race or creed or color."

The comments go further than Ryan has gone in other speeches — even to the conservative Values Voters Summit — where he echoed his line from his convention speech, saying, "Not only a defender of marriage, [Romney] offers an example of marriage at its best."

Ryan does, however, have a record of opposing same-sex couples' marriage — including voting twice for a federal Constitutional amendment to bar such marriages.

The comments come just days after he made remarks about gay military service that were more supportive than those made by his running mate, Mitt Romney.

They also came the day after The New York Times highlighted concern among some Ryan backers that the Romney campaign won't "let Ryan be Ryan" on the campaign trail.

Spokespeople for Romney and Ryan did not respond to a request for comment asking whether the comments were intended to allow Ryan to take a new, more direct approach in talking about the issue. The Romney campaign also did not respond to a request asking if Romney shared Ryan's views.

In contrast to Ryan's remarks today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton often has spoken about how "gay rights" are "human rights." At an address about LGBT rights in recognition of International Human Rights Day in December 2011 — although it did not reference marriage directly — Clinton said, "Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same."

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden permit same-sex couples to marry, as do, in the United States, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry — which was founded to press for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples — told BuzzFeed of the contasting visions, "It's more like two planets than two parties."