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Cheney Comes Out for Gay Marriage, State-by-State

By Dan Eggen
Former vice president Richard Cheney waded into another simmering public debate today, suggesting he supports legalizing gay marriage as long as the issue is decided by the states rather than the federal government.

Cheney, whose youngest daughter is a lesbian with a longtime partner, said during an appearance at the National Press Club that "people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

He said he does not support federal action allowing gay marriages, however. "Historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level," Cheney said. "It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis."

Cheney has long departed from conservative orthodoxy on the issue of gay marriage, saying during the 2000 presidential campaign that the matter should be left to the states. He also prompted an uproar during the 2004 race when he appeared to distance himself from a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which was strongly supported by his boss, George W. Bush.

But his endorsement of state-sanctioned marriage for gays and lesbians appears to put him to the left of President Obama, who has said he supports civil unions rather than marriage for same-sex couples.

"With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said at a 2004 campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, using language nearly identical to his remarks today. "People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to."

As he has in the past, Cheney specifically cited his family's experience during his comments in Washington today. "As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family," Cheney said.

Cheney's youngest daughter, Mary, and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, have a son, Samuel, who was born to Mary Cheney in 2007. Both Mary and her older sister, Elizabeth, have been prominent supporters of their father and Republican causes, although Mary has said in interviews that she considered quitting the Bush re-election effort in 2004 because of the gay marriage issue.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 1, 2009; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Culture Wars  
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Oh, what will the republicans do when the gay wedge issue is gone? Perhaps then, Christian leaders will be PASTORS and not politicians.

Posted by: MichaelSelf | June 6, 2009 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Cheney is an idiot.

Homosexuality has been proven to not only be non-genetic & non-innate:

but also dangerous to those who practice it:

He needs to shut up.

Posted by: Imgi12 | June 4, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

I have a friend who used to to do a loan modification and they were very respectable even after the associate learned he was gay. Nice people and he had good results.

Posted by: JohnHenery | June 3, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Cheney, are you sure you are a republican?
Please it's best to say nothing on the subject their are thousands of other subject to talk about....

Posted by: sv0126 | June 2, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: careineck | June 2, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Republicans today should be less interested in moving toward the center and more interested in running against the center. Here I mean a different "center" — not a midpoint on an opinion spectrum, but rather the centralized government institutions being created and strengthened every day. This is a center that is taking over functions fulfilled in a decentralized way by private individuals, firms and markets.

To govern is to choose, as John F. Kennedy said, and those in charge of these new centralized institutions are making choices that inevitably favor some and hurt others. Unsurprisingly, the politically well connected tend to get the favors. Banks forced to take government money are now blocked from paying it back and in the meantime must direct funds where the government wants them to go.

After World War II, Democrats wanted to retain wartime high taxes, pro-union labor laws, and wage and price controls—all manipulatable for political benefit by political insiders. Republicans ran in 1946 on the theme of "Had enough?" and won big enough majorities to lower taxes, revise labor laws and abolish controls.

The 1946 Republicans didn't move to the center. They ran against the power of the center and permanently redefined where the center of the political spectrum was. That's a path today's Republicans might want to consider.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | June 1, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Cheney is for gay marriage if the applicants will submit to a waterboarding session before getting a license.

Posted by: seemstome | June 1, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Cheney is a kooky fellow, but he was right about security and deserves accolades for it.

How can we miss security so badly under Napolitano?
How can a muslim guy shoot US Soldiers in Arkansas?

At the same time the Obama administration is apparently attacking Arizona's Sheriff for detaining and deporting illegals including muslims.

These clues reveal that State's rights for protection are in question, so State's right on marriage are a long way off.

Posted by: dottydo | June 1, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like Popular Sovereignty to save Constitutional Union, eh Senator Douglas? Especially on a civil rights issue.

A house divided...etc.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | June 1, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"Historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level .... It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis."

Bulls$^t! The courts (activist judges??) had to intervene in the case of inter-racial marriage. It was against 'gods law', they claimed. The bible was against it! The federal government was going to force your (white) daughter marry a black man!

Religious marriages should lose legal standing. All marriage is civil. Have a religious commitment ceremony if you want bu take Churches out of the legal marriage business.

Very brave of the Chicken Hawk Cheney to 'come out' for gay marriage now. So much for standing up for principle. His own daughter, a second class citizen and yet he says nothing while the religious right demonizes lesbian couples. I guess now that he's off the public payroll and has a book to sell, stir the pot!

Posted by: thebobbob | June 1, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Cheney, you're not president anymore.


Posted by: kogejoe | June 1, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

quote: "Historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level," Cheney said.

Which is, of course, a complete lie. It was the US Supreme Court that stepped in and made interracial marriage legal in all 50 states.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | June 1, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course He says this now that he is the FORMER Vice President What did he Say when He was helping the President write his State of the Union in 2004? Oh yeah He wasn't there he was in an undisclosed location Bunker. I smell EGGO waffles. " In 2004 Dick Cheney Reversed his Opinion and Endorsed the Presidents Call for the Defense of Marriage Act!"

Posted by: kirkboi | June 1, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Ban ALL marriage for EVERYONE!

Posted by: Terrorfied | June 1, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Cheney talks out of both sides of his mouth. He's a right wing religious freak who supports gay marriages because his daughter is gay. That's like Limbaugh supporting lax drug controls because he's a junkie. They're both a sad joke

Posted by: wasaUFO | June 1, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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