Although he opposes abortion in most instances and believes marriage should represent the union of a man and a woman, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan said Thursday that he does not support amending the Constitution to prohibit abortions and same-sex marriages and that those decisions should be left to the states.
Ryan, a wealthy investment banker who became an inner-city teacher, also said he opposes government use of tax dollars to provide benefits to same-sex domestic partners.
Taping "At Issue," a program that will air at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sunday on WBBM-AM (780), Ryan said he is opposed to abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
"Before Roe vs. Wade, [abortion] was a state issue, and I think most of those issues should reside in the states," Ryan said. "The idea behind that is not to avoid the issue, but most of us believe that those decisions are made best when they're made closest to the population that it affects."
Ryan said he has a similar principle regarding attempts to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.
Ryan's opposition to a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage puts him at odds with at least one of his rivals for the Republican nomination for the seat being given up by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. On Wednesday businessman John Cox endorsed amending the Constitution to include a gay-marriage ban.
Ryan and Cox are among several Republicans who have announced that they are running for the Senate or are considering it, and abortion and gay rights are hot-button issues for the GOP's core conservative constituency.
Ryan said he believes the issue of offering benefits to domestic partners is a matter of employer-employee negotiations. But he disagrees with government agencies that use taxes to provide such benefits.
"Anything that provides special rights for someone's sexual behavior, I'd be against doing," he said.
Searching Chicagotribune.com archives back to 1985 is cheaper and easier than ever. New prices for multiple articles can bring your cost as low as 30 cents an article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/archives