Dick and Mary Cheney on Homosexuality

Dick_maryAccording to Matt Drudge, Todd Purdum asks Dick Cheney in the new issue of Vanity Fair whether or not he thinks gay people are born that way. Cheney’s answer? “Nice try. I’m not going to get into that. Those are deeply personal questions. You can ask.” Don’t ask questions that might expose hypocrisy, Todd.

Purdum also chatted with the VP’s daughter: “In her new memoir, Now It’s My Turn…Mary Cheney writes that when she told her parents she was gay, the first words out of her father’s mouth ‘were exactly the ones that I wanted to hear: ‘You’re my daughter, and I love you, and I just want you to be happy.’ Mary Cheney tells her story in a voice very much like her father’s, and that she came out to her parents when she was a junior in high school, on a day when, after breaking up with her first girlfriend, she skipped school, ran a red light, and crashed the family car. Cheney writes that her mother hugged her, but then burst into tears, worried that she would face a life of pain and prejudice.”

Why would Lynne Cheney worry her daughter was going to face a life of pain and prejudice? Oh yeah, her father helps legislate it.


  1. Warren says

    Do you really believe all homosexuality is genetic Andy? No environmental factors whatsoever?

  2. Mitch says

    What legislation has Dick Cheney ever voted on, sponsored or introduced related to gays? He came out against the FMA right?

  3. Mike in the Tundra says

    Warren, why does it matter? Frankly, I am what I am, and I don’t really care how I got this way. I don’t need some scientist to help justify my existance.

  4. says

    Ah, Wayne, welcome back, you Repubnant cum rag. We’ve missed your sticky ooze passing as thought, which doesn’t recall that he’s said he “supports the President.” Sad you won’t be the one crawling out of your closet tomorrow night on ABC to be interviewed by Dianne Sawyer as Mary will. Gee, notice the new fluff in her hair. What happened to the “Pat” look? Oh, yeah, she’s pimping a book. That’s Mary, always pimping something. The GOP. Coors. Dick. [well, one very special one anyway] Bush. [c’mon!]. 21st century fascism. … And Sawyer, who worked in the White House of that other big Dick, Nixon, will no doubt drown her in compassion, while Little Mary Sunshine brightens the rusty, rancid image of her old man, the one who, whatever he says, is still working hard for the man/Party that would legally make her and her partner official second-class citizens, and, in turn, the wingnuts who would do everything from deport us to stone us to death.

    “While we welcome the Vice President’s words [about individual freedom], actions are what count in politics. This administration has attacked equal rights for gay people and gay families on all fronts, including consciously using gay marriage as a wedge issue to divide the nation, win re-election, and fuel anti-gay organizing,” NGLTF Director Matt Foreman said. “That is the reality behind the face of ‘compassion.'”

    And from Michelle Cottle, “The New Republic”:

    “I must admit that, for a split second, Dick Cheney had me. Reading his recent campaign remarks about gay marriage — that couples should be allowed to enter into “any kind of relationship they want to,” that the legal issues should be left up to the states, and that, basically, he stands on the side of “freedom for everyone” — I actually began to wonder if maybe the Vice President wasn’t such a dark-hearted, autocratic jerk after all.

    Certainly Cheney had to realize that his comments would cause a rumpus, since they directly contradict Bush’s position that gay marriage is such a menace to the nation that nothing short of a constitutional ban is called for. (Just think of the Federal Marriage Amendment as W.’s going nuc-u-lar in the War on Sodomy.) And with the presidential race getting tighter and nastier by the second, Cheney’s deviation from the campaign party line on any issue — not to mention one so near and dear to the homophobic heart of the Republican base–was sure to start tongues a’ wagging. (The conservative Family Research Council has already expressed grave disappointment at Cheney’s being “allowed to depart from” Bush’s more righteous position. Please. Who in this administration is going to tell Darth Cheney what he is “allowed” to do?)

    More shocking still, in explaining his position, Cheney went all Oprah on his audience, noting that same-sex marriage is an issue his family “is very familiar with” because he and Lynne have a gay daughter. Now, such public confession might not seem like a big deal to you or me. But back in 2000, when ABC’s Cokie Roberts made some on-air remark to Lynne about daughter Mary being “openly gay,” Mrs. Cheney freaked out and nearly took Cokie’s head off with the fierce — and utterly false — avowal that “Mary has never declared such a thing.” God only knows what kind of domestic wrath Dick might incur by destroying his wife’s carefully maintained shroud of denial.

    In light of all this, the Vice President’s flash of dissent could, if viewed from a certain angle, be seen as compassionate, courageous–perhaps even noble. But I reject that angle. Say what you will about Dick’s paternal urges; this rare deviation from the conservative straight and narrow simply highlights how, in Cheney’s view, politics and policy exist largely to serve him and those close to him.

    No one doubts that the Vice President’s apostasy on this issue is entirely personal. If Mary weren’t a lesbian, Cheney would at this very minute be somewhere deep in the red states, warning voters in that scowling, brook-no-arguments way of his that gay marriage is exactly the sort of fuzzy-headed liberal nonsense that gives aid and comfort to al Qaeda. (Lynne would be right there beside him, blaming the whole mess on those perverted, Mapplethorpe-loving bastards over at the National Endowment for the Arts.) But because one of his kids happens to bat for the other team, suddenly Dick’s a free-to-be-you-and-me, “freedom for everyone” kind of guy.

    Now, I’m sure we are all very happy for Mary Cheney. But what about the members of all those other groups that Republicans so often dump on — like poor folks, or black folks, or single moms, or union members — who don’t happen to have a representative in the Vice President’s nuclear family? Where was Cheney’s keep-government-out-of-our-personal-lives attitude when he was casting all those votes against abortion rights in Congress? Where was his concern for civil rights when he voted against busing and the Equal Rights Amendment? Where was his willingness to keep church and state separate when he was backing school prayer? And where, oh where was his respect for the sanctity of the Constitution when, just last month, Mr. Freedom-for-Everyone was running around bashing John Kerry for having voted against a flag-burning amendment?

    As near as I can figure, Cheney’s approach to public policy seems to be that he believes in a basic set of rules that everyone should live by — except in those cases where doing so would prove inconvenient for him or his family. Gay marriage isn’t the only area in which he’s invoked this personal exemption. There was also Cheney’s behavior toward Iraq during his tenure as Chairman and CEO of Halliburton. Despite being a hardliner about America’s not doing business with Saddam, Chief Executive Cheney conveniently looked the other way while his firm’s foreign subsidiaries made millions selling oil-drilling equipment to Baghdad.

    I understand that all politics are personal. But are we really supposed to applaud a man who strays from his pinched ideological worldview only when it serves to benefit himself or someone in his circle of intimates? That’s not compassionate conservativism; that’s political cronyism (or, in Mary’s case, nepotism).

    Of course, if having personal ties to an issue is what it takes to get the Vice President in touch with his softer side, we should probably all be rooting for Cheney to discover that, in addition to having a gay daughter, he also has a couple of black grandkids, an illegal immigrant cousin, an aunt with a drug habit, a transsexual brother, a sister who just got laid off from a textile mill in North Carolina, and a long-lost son who’s been getting his butt shot at in Najaf.

    With enough rabble-rousers, poor folk, and minorities in the family, the Vice President might actually be forced to become a tolerant, compassionate kind of guy. Barring that, we can only hope that enough swing-voters see through Dick’s freedom-for-everyone b.s. to send the dark-hearted, autocratic jerk back to Wyoming come November.”

    And we all know how that turned out. And Little Mary helped, as she always does.

  5. Gilli says


    I’ve always wondered: where exactly are you “in the tundra”?



    Lemme eat some breakfast first before paying real attention to your piece.


  6. Warren says

    Mike –

    I agree: it really doesn’t matter in principle.

    But in theory it matters a great deal. Both the right and the left (Andy) have much at stake. If it’s totally genetic then that means a gay man who remains celibate or marries a woman is living a lie rather than making a choice that might be right for him, even though he remains homosexual. If it is all environmental, then some will argue that you can easily be “cured”.

    I think homosexuality is a sliding scale of genetic AND environmental factors which is different for each of us.

  7. Wayne says

    So Warren, by saying it’s environmental then do you believe that if you change a person’s environment you change their sexual orientation? I’m a gay man who was raised by EXTREMELY straight parents in the deep south (Texas) and I have a straight brother and sister. I dated women all through high school and never identified as “gay” until I was 33 years old. My childhood was full of jokes about fags and queers, which is one of the reasons it never occurred to me that I could be gay… because I didn’t see myself as the stereotypical queen that you see on television. So I’m curious as to how the “environment” has anything to do with this question. Did I choose to be gay? No. Did my brother choose to be a breeder? No. There’s no thought to it, it’s our nature, it’s inherent, it’s how we were born… it’s who we are… or at least it’s who I am.

    And Leland, were you addressing me as the repugnant cum rag?? I hope not, maybe it’s a different Wayne since I hadn’t commented on this when you made that statement.

  8. Leland says

    Many apologies, Wayne. I meant Mitch—and totally agree with you about the absurdity of environment being a part of the origin of one’s orientation.

  9. Mitch says

    Ah…thanks for that Leland. Glad to know you care. I’ll assume the name mixup was a brain fart and not caused by blind rage.

    BTW…1182 words and you still didn’t answer my question.

    Mr. Prince are you referring to the VP’s dinner table or Leland’s?

  10. art star says

    Just because someone brings up the environmental aspects of homosexuality doesn’t mean that they’re saying you can change or that it’s a choice. Fundamental aspects of personality and sexuality can be formed after birth, don’t you agree? And aren’t these “nurture” aspects just as much a part of who one is as the genes you are born with?

    When people get into the whole nature/nurture debate, they are missing the point. Both things are equally important and equally powerful forces in the forging of a human being’s personality. Trying to separate the two into “this is nature” and “this is nurture” is an exercise in futility. They work together.

  11. thisjoeinsf says

    The Cheneys have enough money to protect their pretty little daughter from just about any injustice.

    The funny thing about many conservatives is that don’t care about an issue until it affects them personally. Witness: Nancy Reagan’s crusade for stem-cell research once her husband became sick; unfortunately, she didn’t show the same compassion for gay men dying of AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s.

    I can find plenty fault in myself and most Democrats; but people who lack compassion for the oppressed and less fortunate are the poorest people of all.

    The Cheneys may be rich but they are poorest lot of all.

  12. Mike in the Tundra says

    Chad has a good point.

    Warren, why should I want to change? My homosexuality has hurt no one. It’s made my partner very happy, and I’m happy. Sure society has dumped on me on occasion, but that’s not of my doing. I refuse to be influenced by a bunch of narrow minded bigots.

  13. Chad Hanging says

    Oh and also, the genetigays ones give great head while the enviromos make more noise when they bottom.

  14. Chad Hanging says

    And Kudos to Mary for helping the infamously anti-gay Coors beer company help increase their sales by acting as the lesbian liason to the gay community that she doesn’t even represent.

  15. Wayne says

    Art Star, so does the environment make a black person black? A hispanic brown? No, it doesn’t. And it doesn’t make me gay or straight. That excuse, and that’s exactly what it is, comes from the tired wing-nuts who want to argue that you can change your sexual orientation. You can’t. It’s that simple. You can lie about it, but you can’t change it. And being born in the Castro offers no more chance of being gay than being born in Alabama. The whole environmental question is a weapon used to keep the world from accepting that their “God”, or Gods, made us this way.

  16. art star says

    Wayne, I agree that nutjobs would take environmental factors and run with them, screaming, “See? It’s your mom’s fault. You can get over your gayness with time and therapy.” Obviously, that’s a lie.

    When I say “environment” I don’t mean “my dad was gay and I was raised in WeHo so therefore I became gay myself.” I’m referring to family dynamics, or closeness/distance to parents, etc. I was surprised to learn, for instance, that lesbians are more likely to have had a distant relationship with their mothers. (I got this from some LGBT readers at college, I really wish I could put my hands on that text so that I could explain myself better.)

    The mutability of one’s orientation isn’t the issue I’m focusing on here. I’m simply saying that the nature/nurture debate is moot. Both are strong. Both are important. How can they not work together?

    And as for the racial metaphor that you bring up, it doesn’t really jive. Race is socially defined. 200 years ago I would have been sold into slavery, even though my skin is white. Why? Because one of my parents is black. (Not to mention that my father probably would have been murdered for cavorting with a white girl.) Apartheid-era South Africa would have labeled me colored and I would have been shuffled off with all the other mulattoes, above the “whole” blacks, but above the “pure” whites. Really, what does that have to do with homosexuality?

  17. Wayne says

    Art, if homosexuality is genetic, which I believe, and race is also genetic, then doesn’t that comparison seem right? I can’t change the fact that I’m gay anymore than you can change the fact that you’re parents were of diffent races. Nurture doesn’t make you any less black and it doesn’t make me any less gay. That’s the point I’m making. If you believe that homosexuality is genetic then “nurture” doesn’t matter because there’s nothing that can be done to alter who you already are. That’s my point. I believe it jibes perfectly. And race is not socially defined. You’re either black or white or red or yellow or whatever. Just because I call a black person “white” doesn’t make it so.

  18. Art Star says

    You’ve completely missed all of my points. You can’t separate nature & nurture. THERE IS NO EITHER/OR.

    And, no, you aren’t either black or white or red or yellow. Are you saying that simply because my father is black, that automatically makes me black? My father descends from slaves, therefore there is more than plenty of white in his background, too. Since I’m probably “more” white than black, why can’t I be called white? My great-grandmother was Seminole, so does that mean that I’m Native American? You believe in the “one drop” rule? If you do, then doesn’t that make everyone on earth black? The distinction is only there because our society happens to put it there. Despite the fact that I still have to pick a box to check under “Race/Ethnicity”.

  19. says

    Art Star,
    I totally agree with your enlightened sense of nature/nurture dynamics. Your critics on here have greatly oversimplified and given too much credit to genetics, discounting nurture. I’m sure there’s a gene somewhere that makes a person like the way pork tastes on their tongue… if they’re a practicing Jew or Muslim it doesn’t mean they should start frying up bacon automatically!