November 20, 2013

Cheney family feud mirrors Republican fight on gay marriage

Matea Gold
The Washington Post

And Sean Sullivan

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Elizabeth Cheney, left, and Mary Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne

“I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree,” Liz Cheney said.

That prompted an angry response from Poe, who wrote on Facebook : “Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 – she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

Mary Cheney shared the message on her own Facebook page, adding: “Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree – you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.”

She elaborated in a comment posted later Sunday afternoon that her sister’s position “is to treat my family as second class citizens.”

PARENTS PLAY REFEREE

Their parents sought to referee the feud Monday, saying that Liz Cheney has “always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done.”

“Compassion is called for, even when there is disagreement about such a fundamental matter, and Liz’s many kindnesses shouldn’t be used to distort her position,” they said in their statement.

This is not the first time that the family has wrestled with the personal implications of the national debate over gay marriage. Mary Cheney considered quitting her position on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 when he used his State of the Union address to defend “the sanctity of marriage,” according to “Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House,” a book by New York Times reporter Peter Baker.

Dick Cheney endorsed state-sanctioned gay marriage in 2009, saying in remarks at the National Press Club in Washington that “people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish.” That same year, when she was asked on MSNBC what her stance was, Liz Cheney declined to answer directly, saying that she believed it was an issue that should be left to the states. “My family’s been very clear about this: We think freedom means freedom for everybody,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Liz Cheney did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Mary Cheney and Poe did not respond to a voicemail message left for them.

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