Earlier today John Boehner, the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, announced he will resign both his speakership and his Congressional seat at the end of October.
Here are five facts about the man who is third in line to the U.S. presidency:
1. Upon graduating high school in 1968, during the time of the Vietnam War, Boehner enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Because of a bad back, he was honorably discharged after eight weeks. After graduating from Xavier University in 1977, he worked for a small sales business in the packaging and plastics industry. From 1981 to 1984, Boehner served on the board of trustees of Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. He then served as an Ohio state representative from 1985 to 1990. He was elected to House of Representatives in 1990, became House Majority Leader in 2006, and became Speaker of the House after the 2010 midterm elections.
2. Throughout his political career Boehner remained a staunch advocate for the sanctify and protection of life. When he became majority leader in 2006 the National Right to Life Committee and Family Research Council scored him as having a 100 percent voting record on pro-life issues. "This is not a political position I've adopted for the sake of expedience or convenience; it is part of who I am and have always been, since long before the thought of running for office had ever entered my mind," he said at the time. "It is a belief I feel passionately from deep within my soul."
"I have always voted to protect the rights of unborn children," he added, "and as long as I am an elected official, I will continue to do so."
3. After the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Boehner said, “All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. . . My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs.”
Boehner, a Roman Catholic, is an advocate of traditional marriage. He opposes same-sex marriage and voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment in both 2004 and 2006. In a letter to the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-LGBT rights group, Boehner stated, "I oppose any legislation that would provide special rights for homosexuals . . . Please be assured that I will continue to work to protect the idea of the traditional family as one of the fundamental tenets of western civilization."
4. Boehner served as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee from 2001 until 2006. In 2001 he and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy authored the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. That controversial legislation requires all public schools receiving federal funding to administer a statewide standardized test annually to all students. Boehner called No Child Left Behind his “proudest achievement” in his years on Capitol Hill.
5. Throughout his career, Boehner was a defender of religious freedom. Earlier this year he said, ““America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and faith-based employers deserve the ability to hire people who share their beliefs.” He has also said the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a “critical check on federal power.” And after the Obama administration regulation requiring employers, including religious organizations, to provide birth-control and abortifacient coverage in their employees’ health plans, Boehner said, “Religious freedom is one of our most cherished liberties. If the president does not reverse his administration's attack on this fundamental right, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must.”