Monday, June 1, 2009

something we've lived with for a long time

plenty of folks out there think think this should make the gay community happy: a giant figure in the republican party, the former vice-president dick cheney, no less, basically stating his pro-gay position.

but listen carefully.

in this response at the national press club, cheney starts strong: "freedom means freedom for everyone," he says – his usual line. but it isn't long before we decend into cheney-speak, with the former veep dancing around an honest, heartfelt answer to the question. having a gay daughter is something that "we've lived with for a long time in our family," says cheney. not something we're proud of, certainly, but something we've lived with.

cheney also states that marriage has always been regulated at the state level, and he believes there should be no federal statute governing it today.

it hasn't, and there is:
Historically, marriage has been a contract enforced by the states, but honored by the federal government under the "full faith and credit" clause of the US Constitution. The US Congress and President Clinton changed all of that with the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

Marriage is now a federally regulated contract that is no longer granted full faith and credit between the states or with the federal government unless you are straight. And it's important, because some of the most important rights granted to married couples come from the federal government.
is mr. cheney in favor, then, of repealing the defense of marriage act?

cheney's statements, while slightly more forthcoming than his non-gay daughter liz's have been on the same topic, are nearly as evasive – both using the word arrangement to describe a gay union, as though this is a talking point distributed amongst the cheney family.

he closes by suggesting that "people oughta get a shot at that, and they do at present." assuming he means get a shot at gay marriage, which is what the original question was about, this is also obviously not true.

what's unfortunate is that mr. cheney has certainly not minced words on a myriad of topics since leaving the white house: torture, 9/11, president obama's performance, the economy. but while those opinions come spewing forth from him so readily, his feelings on gay civil rights and gay marriage are still so careful, guarded, and worst of all – political.

UPDATE 7:24 pm – there is a rash of blog headlines on the internet suddenly, cheney endorses gay marriage, cheney comes out for gay marriage. i don't know about you, but that's not what i heard.


  1. You should've gone to law school, Mr. Attention-to-detail. Wanna swap places?

  2. That "lived with" stood out to me as well. So sad, and revealing.

  3. I dunno. I'm sort of inclined to give him some slack on this -- his word choice at least. I'm not saying he wasn't hypocritical for serving in an admin that was so LGBT-hostile, but he clearly loves Mary very much. I think it's worth considering his tone of voice in the clip when parsing his words. He didn't say the "lived with" with hostility. I think he meant that it hasn't been easy. Mary gets dragged into political debates all the time because of who her dad is, and that's got to be hard for him.

    < / icantbelieveisortajustdefendeddickcheney >


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