The wedding of Mary Cheney, daughter of former Republic Vice President Dick Cheney, to her partner of 20 years, Heather Poe, received little attention in the press. Their two children, 5 and almost 3, were probably relieved that their parents had finally married. The kids aren’t old enough to read the papers, and probably don’t appreciate the significance of the marriage. For those of us born during the 50’s, it is a big deal!
Mary Cheney is the daughter of one of the best known Republicans of my life time. Dick Cheney was the most powerful Vice President in American history. While Dick Cheney occupied the office of the Vice President, he was at thecenter of power inside the White House, and at the helm of the U.S. decisions on foreign and defense policy. Dick Cheney surprised other Republicans by his support of his daughter’s homosexual life style. Mary Cheney was always close to her father, and he supported her even in high school when she told him of her sexual preferences. Yet inspite of Cheney’s power in the White House he was unable to change the Republican position on gay marriage. In 2004 Cheney confirmed that he was personally in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages. However he and George Bush were diametrically opposed on this issue. Dick and his wife Lynn embraced their daughter’s lifestyle and celebrated the birth of their grandchildren.
Bush was opposed to same sex couple marriage, and was so adamantly opposed that he favored a constitutional amendment to “protect the institution of marriage.” Other famous positions of Bush included:
2. Bush said he didn’t know if homosexuality was a choice.
3. Bush said that the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, he supported the protection of marriage against activist judges. He admitted he would appoint “federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.”
4. Bush did block hate crime legislation from being applied to homosexuals.
5. Bush opposed adoption of children by same-sex couples.
Hence, it is clear that even though Dick Cheney was clearly in favor of same-sex marriage, even HE, in such a powerful position, was unable to convince the Republican party or the President that same-sex marriage should be embraced.
During the 2012 Republican primaries we watched as Rick Santorum compared homosexuality to bestiality. Santorum argued that if the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws and allowed people to perform homosexual acts in their own homes, thousands of years of civilization would go out the window. Marriage as an institution that exists only between a man and a woman must be upheld, he said. “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,”Santorum said. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”
However because Mitt Romney appears to be the most likely Republican candidate in the 2012 race, perhaps you were thinking that homosexuals shouldn’t be so concerned. You would be wrong. Mitt Romney opposes same-sex marriages, and even civil unions. Even more frightening is the fact thatRomney chose Robert Bork as his constitutional advisor. Bork has made it clear that he favors a constitutional Amendment preventing homosexual marriages. During Barack Obama’s first term, he has certified the repeal of the rule in the military of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” More recently he has become a strong advocate for recognizing same-sex marriage.
It is not coincidental that Mary Cheney had to wait until the President of the United States became an advocate for recognizing same-sex marriages. It is not coincidence that the first President to do so was a Democrat. Mitt Romney now says that same-sex marriage, although he opposes it, is a state issue. To say that this is a “state issue” is a total disservice to the GLBT community. Currently only six states and Washington D.C. allow same-sex marriages, and only nine states recognize such marriages. This is unlike abortion, where if you needed an abortion you could go to the state where it was legal, and then return to your home and enjoy all other rights guaranteed under the constitution. If you go out of state to marry a same-sex-partner, and return to one of 41 states, your marriage is not recognized. Forty-one states in the United States still refuse to recognize the validity of a same-sex marriage, even if it was legal and condoned by a fellow state.
Same-sex marriage is a federal issue. It is a Republican/Democrat issue. If Mitt Romney were elected, and allowed to appoint one or more U.S. Supreme Court Judges, Mary Cheney’s marriage might be deemed unconstitutional. Surely we won’t let that happen?