Mary Cheney: Corporate Pawn Turned Political Absentee

Mary Cheney Question Obscures LGBT Issues in Presidential Campaign

Mary Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's out lesbian daughter, is head of her father's re-election campaign team. One of her past jobs was gay community liaison for Coors Brewing Company, where she helped to end the LGBT community's 20-year boycott of that company. She and her partner have been markedly silent about the same-sex marriage issue and Bush/Cheney's other anti-gay efforts, to the point that pro-same-sex marriage groups started a "Dear Mary" campaign to "try to get Mary to stand up to Dick."

Mary's sexuality became a campaign issue during the Vice-Presidential Debate, when John Edwards praised Cheney for publicly embracing his lesbian daughter, Mary. Cheney, said that he was grateful for the "kind words he said about my family and our daughter," and in a frank admission, said he would have preferred that the president not endorse a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and instead leave the issue to the states, but he added, "He sets policy for this administration, and I support the president."

In a debate between George Bush and John Kerry, Kerry responded to a question about whether or not homosexuality is a choice by saying, "'We're all God's children.... And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she was being who she was, she's being who she was born as.'" Despite the fact that Mary's (sexuality) was mentioned in the vice presidential debate with no angry response from Republicans, both Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne responded angrily against Kerry's remark in following days. Lynne Cheney has said, "Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom...What a cheap and tawdry political trick." It is unclear what trick she was referring to. LGBT activists have since stated that Kerry could have made his point without including Mary Cheney. Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of VP Candidate John Edwards, has stated "I believe the president has tried to use the constitutional amendment as a wedge issue, instead of addressing things like health care or real reform and attention to our veterans' issues." She has also said, "I think that [Mrs. Cheney's complaint] indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences." Kerry's campaign later issued a statement saying the candidate was only trying to be supportive of Mary Cheney, and apologized if his words were taken the wrong way. The UK Guardian pointed out that "Gay men and lesbians are furious with Kerry, not for using Mary as a political pawn but for exposing his own double standards. In the same breath, Kerry spoke passionately for gay freedom and for marriage as an institution that should be enjoyed only by a man and a woman."

Past Indybay Coverage of Kerry and the LGBT Community | Indybay Story about Coors and the LGBT Community | Log Cabin Republicans' Statement

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