Breaking their silence about the public feud between their two daughters, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, said Monday that the situation had pained them, but offered some political cover for their elder child, who is seeking a United States Senate seat in Wyoming.
Liz Cheney, 47, was criticized on Facebook on Sunday by her sister, Mary, 44, who is a lesbian and objects to Liz’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, have suggested that Liz has always been supportive of their relationship and have questioned how she can do so while publicly opposing same-sex marriage.
But Mr. Cheney and his wife appear to be siding with Liz, and said in the statement that it is possible to be loving toward a lesbian sister and her spouse while not embracing the idea of their marrying.
The Washington Post puts it this way:
The public eruption of the internal Cheney family drama gave airing to the broader struggle within the GOP about how to handle gay marriage at a time when such unions are rapidly gaining legal status and widespread public acceptance.
Many prominent voices within the party – including top strategists and political donors – now back the effort to legalize gay marriage. Public surveys show GOP attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing, albeit at a much slower pace than the overall population. In a March Post-ABC poll, 34 percent of Republicans said they believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry, up from 22 percent in 2009.
Andrew Sullivan sums up:
What you’re seeing here is the Republican elite’s hypocrisy finally being called out – in the most public way possible. By refusing to stay silent while their sister and sister-in-law acts as if it’s still 1996, Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are standing up for their own integrity. They are therefore now leaders of the gay rights cause – even though many on the gay left will doubtless give them no credit. Because this cause is not just a public and political one; it is a personal and moral one. And the ability to pretend that you can do one thing in public and another in private is becoming more attenuated by the day.