Skip to comments.Cheney's Gay Marriage Comments Draw Fire
Posted on 08/24/2004 5:25:14 PM PDT by wagglebee
DAVENPORT, Iowa - Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites), whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, drew criticism from both proponents and foes of gay marriage Tuesday after he distanced himself from President Bush (news - web sites)'s call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
At a campaign rally in this Mississippi River town, Cheney spoke supportively about gay relationships, saying "freedom means freedom for everyone," when asked about his stand on gay marriage.
"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with," Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. "With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone ... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.
"The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage," he said.
Bush backs a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, a move Cheney says was prompted by various judicial rulings, including the action in Massachusetts that made gay marriage legal.
"I think his perception was that the courts, in effect, were beginning to change, without allowing the people to be involved," Cheney said. "The courts were making the judgment for the entire country."
Addressing Bush's position on the amendment, Cheney said, "at this point, save my own preference, as I have stated, but the president makes policy for the administration. He's made it clear that he does, in fact, support a constitutional amendment on this issue."
Those comments drew criticism from the conservative Family Research Council, with President Tony Perkins saying, "I find it hard to believe the vice president would stray from the administration's position on defense policy or tax policy. For many pro-family voters, protecting traditional marriage ranks ahead of the economy and job creation as a campaign issue."
Perkins added that if Cheney sees a problem with activist judges, "then how can he not endorse the same solution the president and his pro-family allies have proposed? We urge Vice President Cheney to support President Bush and a constitutional amendment on marriage."
Steven Fisher, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, said Cheney's remarks show a stark difference with Bush's efforts "to put discrimination in the Constitution."
"President Bush is feeling the heat. The administration has been using gay Americans to drive a wedge into the electorate. There are millions of American families who have gay family members and friends, who are offended by the president's use of discrimination," Fisher said.
Last month, Lynne Cheney said states should have the final say over the legal status of personal relationships, a comment that came just days before the Senate failed to back the ban.
Cheney said the amendment did not have the votes to pass, but he also said the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton (news - web sites) signed into law in 1996, may be enough.
"Most states have addressed this and there is on the books the federal statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, and to date, it has not been successfully challenged in the courts and may be sufficient to resolve the issue," the vice president said.
The Cheneys have two daughters, both of whom are working on the campaign. Mary Cheney is director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. She held a public role as her father's assistant in the 2000 campaign and helped the GOP recruit gay voters during the 2002 midterm elections.
During the 2000 campaign, vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney took the position that states should decide legal issues about personal relationships and that people should be free to enter relationships of their choosing.
Sens. John Kerry (news - web sites) of Massachusetts and John Edwards (news - web sites) of North Carolina, oppose the amendment. The Democratic candidates also oppose gay marriage, but defend a gay couple's rights to the same legal protections as those conferred in marriage.
I think Dick Cheney couched his remarks well.
Kerry and Cheney have the same position on GAy Marriage....
If he wasn't supportive of his daughter he'd be a jerk in my eyes.
Dads back their kids up, pretty much whatever boneheaded thing they do.
I basically agree that its the states right. I am certain that Cheney would not have said this without Bush's approval.
You know it. Cheney is a stand up guy. IMO, I don't think GWB really has a dog in the gay marriage fight.
The media is making much ado about nothing. He has a right to his opinion and has contributed immensely to this administration.
""President Bush is feeling the heat. The administration has been using gay Americans to drive a wedge into the electorate. There are millions of American families who have gay family members and friends, who are offended by the president's use of discrimination," Fisher said. "
This is so damn annoying. Its okay for the far left to use the courts to impose their radical agenday, but if anyone dares give voice to majority opinon then THEY are being divisive.
I just wish these people would be honest and tell the American people that they couldn't care less what they think; that they fully intend on using the courts to defacto amend the Constitution and impose gay marriage on the entire nation. At least then one could respect their honesty.
People were shocked. But I wasn't. I respected my parents for following through on their convictions and I respected my Brother for following through on his.
Yeah, the let-the-states-decide approach would be fine if not for the courts who have no regard for that option.
Sooner or later some Amendment will be necessary to stop the courts and their reckless usurpation of power. I guess it need not ban gay marriage; simply and explicitly empowering the states and removing the courts from the issue would probably do. Then the post-Christian states could do as they please, while the South, most of the Midwest, Sunbelt, Rocky Mtn West, Central Plains, etc could keep marriage as it has always been.
Oh puh_leeez. Kerry voted against the Defense of Marriage act and is against a Constitutional Amendment.
With all due respects, Cheney should have just kept silent. He's not going to win votes from the Left and the Right will just get more frustrated.
That is why it passed in Missouri by about 70% of the vote and got conservative to the polls in mass.
I agree. I think Barney's as straight as they come.
I thought Perkins was an actor:
I'm sure glad my dad didn't take this approach. He actually (gasp) took moral stands and made me see that there was a higher road. Silly guy!
So? Missouri will go Blue----again, just like Pennsylvania. Mark my words.
Since you live in Indiana, perhaps you can give us your stance on said issue?
Cheney's remarks are the last thing conservatives should worry about, since he didn't say anything about gay marriages or special rights for gays. Clearly, there are bigger fish to fry.
Not unless Cheney backs court mandated civil unions.
I love Cheney but he should have kept his fat mouth shut on this. VPs aren't supposed to yap about how they disagree with the President on any subject and are supposed to advocate the President's positions not their own.
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