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Obama and Ryan contrast starkly on social issues

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Albany/HV: Obama and Ryan contrast starkly on social issues
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The economy, healthcare and the federal budget may be dominating the presidential campaign but Rep. Paul Ryan's stance on issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration reform are starting to get more scrutiny. YNN's Grace Rauh has this report.

Just as the two differ on how to jumpstart the economy and in their budget priorities, President Barack Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan have staked out starkly different positions on the social issues that divide many Americans.

Ryan is a devout Catholic who opposes abortion rights. He said he believes that life begins at conception. The National Right to Life Committee gives him a 100 percent rating. Abortion rights advocates are denouncing his positions.

"He is extreme of the extreme of the extreme," said Andrew Miller with NARAL Pro-Choice New York. "He has done everything possible in Congress to undermine a woman's right to choose, to limit her access to basic health care."

Ryan co-sponsored a bill that would give fetuses the legal rights of a person. He has also voted to block federal funding for abortions and to cut funding from Planned Parenthood.

Obama supports abortion rights. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the President said the Supreme Court decision "affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters."

On immigration, Ryan opposes reform measures that would, as he said, reward immigrants who entered the country illegally. He opposes the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

The president supports the Dream Act and recently announced a Dream Act-like policy to keep young illegal immigrants from being deported. His administration, though, has deported a historic number of people.

Ryan opposes gay marriage and voted in favor of a constitutional ban. But he did vote in 2007 to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation. A gay Republican group said that vote is an encouraging sign.

"It's worth pointing out that Paul Ryan's position on marriage equality is the same position that Barack Obama had on marriage equality until two months ago," said Gregory Angelo with Log Cabin Republicans NYS.

In May, President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage.

The National Rifle Association gives Ryan an A rating. The association said President Obama has an "anti-gun record".

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