Saturday, December 09, 2006

Give Mary Cheney a break

Mary Cheney is the daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney and First Victorian Prude Who Writes Racy Novels with Lesbian Scenes But Really Doesn't Lynne Cheney. Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the vice-president, Lea Anne McBride, announced that Mary and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, are expecting their first child sometime next spring. Mary is the biological parent to the child; it is not clear what path Mary chose to become pregnant. And it really isn't anyone's business but her (and her partner's) own.

The Cheneys, Dick and Lynne, are, according to the press announcement, "eagerly anticipating" the arrival of their sixth grandchild. Their other daughter, Elizabeth, has five children though her Biblically-sanctioned and Republican-approved heterosexual marriage.

Mary Cheney and Heather Poe live in Virginia, which voted in November to amend its state constitution to include a ban on same-sex marriage and the recognition of civil unions of any kind. What this means is simple and clear: Ms. Poe will have no legal claim to the child that one presumes she and her partner agreed to have. She will have no legal right to be present for the birth of the child if she so chooses or to make a decision on behalf of her partner should something go wrong during the delivery of their child -- a child that really isn't hers, even though, it is.

There is a lot of hypocrisy to go around here, beginning with Dick and Lynne Cheney's support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and their party's condemnation of homosexuality as some sort of direct affront to God's will and the Republican platform (which the Christian wing of the Republican party views as interchangeable). Mary Cheney worked as a campaign operative for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, which included a substantial gay-baiting component as part of its commitment to traditional values. She previously worked for Coors, which has been a major contributor to the Republican party for years and whose former head, Joseph Coors, has always funded right-wing causes through his charitable foundations. Coors, in fact, was the first benefactor of the Heritage Foundation, which is probably the most influential right-wing think tank in American politics.

I don't want to get in Mary Cheney's head, because that appears a pretty complicated and conflicted place to be. But I will say this: let Ms. Cheney and Ms. Poe work this out on their own. Like most people who move from abstraction to reality in their lives, they will probably find their public voice on this issue and others affecting gay Americans. In the meantime, wish them well and leave them alone. The right to privacy, like the right to free speech, applies to everyone, even those who we believe might be better off doing or thinking something else.

1 comment:

The Ripper said...

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen this David Letterman clip with Cheney in it, but its pretty funny--