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Oct. 26, 2004

Mary Cheney isn't an issue in this election

by Alexander Gold, Page Editor
Mary Cheney is a lesbian, and we all know it. Now let's move on with this election. In the final presidential debate, on Oct. 13, President George W. Bush was asked whether he believed that homosexuality is a choice. After Bush's convoluted answer, challenger John Kerry said he believes sexual preference is inborn. "And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as," Kerry stated.

The Cheney family responded quickly, and within hours, Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney's wife, gave a public statement in which she personally attacked Kerry and condemned the comment as inappropriate. She called the statement, "a cheap and tawdry political trick…The only thing I can conclude is [that Kerry is] not a good man," according to The Washington Post's article, Transcript: Third Presidential Debate. Cheney also responded to the comment, although he took a less personal approach than his wife. "You saw a man who will say and do anything in order to get elected. And I am not speaking just as a father here, though I am a pretty angry father, but as a citizen," he said, as reported in The Washington Post.

Voters seem to agree with the Cheneys. Nearly two-thirds of voters thought the comment was inappropriate, according to a Washington Post survey. And according to a Silver Chips Online poll, 40 percent of respondents felt the comment was appropriate, and 43 percent believed it was not.

While Kerry's comment was likely unnecessary, it was not the vulgar atrocity that the Cheneys are trying to make it seem like. Mary Cheney has been out of the closet for years, has been a member of a Republican gay-straight alliance and has worked for the Coors beer company, helping it to debunk the anti-gay label it had for a long time. Additionally, as one of her father's top advisors, she is already in the public eye.

When Kerry mentioned Mary's sexuality, he was certainly not revealing any secret. Kerry was simply explaining his position on the issue that homosexuality is not a choice. He chose to make reference to a well-known homosexual political figure. Whether this was a political move or not and whether it was an underhanded way of trying to alienate ultra-conservative Bush-Cheney supporters, let these facts not overshadow what is of real importance, the position presented.

Mary Cheney is a grown woman. This is not a real situation where the parents of some teenager feel indignant when their sexually-confused daughter is brought into the limelight. Mary Cheney is in her mid-thirties, lives with her life partner and is already well known to the public. Her parent's actions seem more likely to be politically motivated, an effort to soothe conservatives who do not want a Vice President with a lesbian daughter.

What is far worse and more damaging to Mary Cheney and gay rights in general was Lynne Cheney's refusal to acknowledge her daughter's sexual orientation during the presidential election four years ago. A mother refusing to admit her daughter is a lesbian is far more indicative of a problem with American politics than a candidate mentioning that daughter and her sexual preferences while explaining his own position.

One insignificant comment made by Kerry should not overshadow the 2004 presidential election. With scarcely more than a week left until the election, let's let John Kerry's untimely, possibly ill-advised and ultimately inconsequential comment drop and pay attention to the real differences between the candidates.

Quotes compiled from The Washington Post.

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  • Sherri Geng (View Email) on October 26, 2004
    People should realize also the hypocrisy here: Mary Cheney is top-adviser to her father who is a Republican and second on deck in an administration that outlawed gay marriage. I wonder how it feels to be Mary Cheney- is it worse to wake up everyday knowing your father and his administration are responsible for the fact that you can't marry the person you love (or marry... ever), or to have your own mother deny your sexual identity to the public- or to know that your father doesn't view you as someone worthy of the full rights granted to any average American citizen simply because you love a woman and not a man.
  • hmm on October 27, 2004
    Edwards also stated that he was against gay mariage in the Cheney-Edwards debate. Also, whether or not what Kerry said was inappropriate, his wife's remark (about how Cheney must not love his daughter) was just uncalled for.

    Also, her mother never denied Mary's sexual identity in public, she claimed it was awful for Kerry to try and use something like that for political purposes.
  • Adam on October 27, 2004
    The issue that isn't relevent is gay marriage, which Bush brought up. As long as Bush employs homophobic hate tactics for political gain, Mary Cheney will be relevent.
  • um... on October 27, 2004
    I might be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that Dick Cheney has spoken out against the proposal of an ammendment banning gay marriage. This is the one issue he's clearly stated that he and Bush have different I don't think that Mary Cheney would blame her father for anything.

    I disagree with the author about this comment being insignificant. I would hope it was not planned ahead, but just the fact that he said it is terrible. It's one thing for Bush to make a slip up- there's never any intent behind Bush's mistakes. If Bush says we'll have a no volunteer army, we all get a chuckle and know what he really means. But when Kerry, who prides himself on being a degree of magnitude more articulate than Bush, makes a comment like this, it's probably not just a slip up. I'm sure he regrets it now, but I doubt that when he said it he was completely oblivious of the implications he was making with it.

  • Damn straight on October 27, 2004
    to the previous commenter...dich cheney hasn't opposed gay marriage. this is NOT A PROBLEM. how is this any worse than accusing, say, kerry of being anti-vietnam? john kerry didn't do anything wrong... but mary's the one who's got the conflict.
  • applause! on October 27, 2004
    Well done! This was a well presented argument. I voted in the chips poll saying the comment was inappropriate, but your argument was well-laid out. Another awesome piece from chips!
  • Alex Gold (View Email) on October 28, 2004
    Thank you all for your support and interest in my article. In response to "hmm," Lynne Cheney did in fact deny that her daughter was a lesbian during the 2000 election. Although Mary Cheney had come out of the closet long before the election, when Lynne Cheney was asked about her daughter's sexuality, she vehemently denied that her daughter was a lesbian. When an ABC reporter asked her about her daughter's declared lesbian status, Lynne responded, "Mary has never declared such a thing," according to Again, thank you all for your interest, and keep reading Silver Chips Online!
  • Wow on October 29, 2004
    To Sherri:

    As editor in chief of Silver Chips print, I would expect that you would know better than what you wrote. The Bush administration did NOT "outlaw" gay marriage as you say. They attempted, yes, but clearly failed. And as other posters have noted, Cheney has publically come out against Bush's view and believes that marriage is a state affair, to be dealt with at the state level.

    Really, for the editor in chief, you're views are disturbingly inaccurate.

    And, by the way, it was the Clinton administration that signed the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, not the Bush administration.
  • seeker on October 29, 2004
    i think this article is very well written and argued. Good job, Alex!
  • sherri on October 29, 2004
    Thanks for clearing that up re: Dick Cheney. With regards to outlawing gay marriage- I suppose I should have been clearer: Bush proposed an amendment to outlaw gay marriage. Mary Cheney works for Cheney and as part of the Bush administration. Still an enormously awkward position, I would say.

    And her mother definitely did deny that her daughter was a lesbian in 2000. I quote: "When Lynne Cheney was asked about her daughter being openly gay by ABC newswoman Cokie Roberts on Sunday, Mrs. Cheney said her daughter is 'bright' and 'hard-working' and 'decent,' and yes, she loves her. But, she said acidly, 'My daughter has never declared such a thing.' " Ouch.
  • Anonymous on November 2, 2004
    Let's get our priorities straight

    haha subtle. not.
  • jessica (View Email) on March 10, 2005 at 12:00 PM
    i think that being gay is good cuz all people want to be who they r no one can tell them what to do it was not kerry who was gay so why put him on the spot and say that he cant be elected cuz he believes in homosexuals
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