Mary Cheney (Finally) Becomes a Gay Rights Activist

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After a public feud with her Senate-hopeful sister Liz, Mary Cheney is finally wading into the state-by-state same sex marriage debate. Mary Cheney, who is openly gay, will host a fundraiser on December 11th to fight against a proposed ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana. Cheney announced her plans in an email to Freedom Indiana's mailing list. She wrote (via The Washington Post): 

When I heard about HJR-6 -- the proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently ban all protections for same-sex couples and their families -- I knew I had to join the powerful bipartisan movement that’s working to stop this anti-freedom amendment...Speaking out against HJR-6 isn’t a matter of politics. It’s about family. It’s about everyone feeling welcome in the state they call home.

Until recently, Mary was relatively quiet and uncontroversial about gay rights The New Republic used the word "bland" in a recent piece on the Cheney sisters' public disagreement, citing, a quote from Mary's memoir that reads, “The consensus was that when an issue causes strong feelings, as gay rights does, bland is probably all right.”  Mary is married, with two kids, and has long worked on Republican outreach to the gay community. In the 1990s, she worked for Coors to improve its reputation among gays. In other words, she'd worked more on improving conservative institutions' relationships with gay people than on winning new rights for gays.

But then Liz Cheney started condemning same-sex marriage in public, as part of her campaign to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi. In a Fox News interview earlier this month, Liz said that "I believe in the traditional definition of marriage," adding, "I love Mary very much, I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree." Liz Cheney first took a stance against gay marriage in August, making her the only member of the Cheney family to oppose it. That includes former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

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This prompted an uncharacteristically direct response from Mary Cheney. In a Facebook post earlier this month, Mary responded to Liz's Fox News statement: "Liz - this isn't just an issue on which we disagree," she wrote, adding, "You're just wrong - and on the wrong side of history." (Her wife Heather Poe posted a much more thorough takedown of Liz's stance). The backlash has apparently hurt Liz's already not-great campaign enough to prompt a new ad promoting the Senate candidate's loving family. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.