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    December 06, 2006

    Mary Cheney Is Expecting

    Posted by: Chris

    Mary_cheneyheather_poe_1 Mary Cheney, the vice president's lesbian daughter, has announced she is pregnant and expecting in last Spring, the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" reports today:

    It's a baby boom for grandparents Dick and Lynne Cheney: Their older daughter, Elizabeth, went on leave as deputy assistant secretary of state before having her fifth child in July. "The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild," spokesman Lea Anne McBride said last night.

    Cheney, 37, was a key aide to her father during the 2004 reelection campaign and now is vice president for consumer advocacy at AOL. Poe, 45, a former park ranger, is renovating their Great Falls home.

    News of the pregnancy will undoubtedly reignite the debate about gay marriage. During the campaign, Mary Cheney was criticized by gay activists for not being more publicly supportive of same-sex marriage. Her father said people "ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to" but deferred to the president's policy supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Cheney herself called the proposed amendment "a gross affront to gays and lesbians everywhere" in her book, "Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life," which was published in May.

    Cheney has described her relationship with Poe -- whom she took to last year's White House dinner honoring Prince Charles and Camilla -- as a marriage. The two met in 1988 while playing ice hockey and began dating four years later. They moved from Colorado to Virginia a year ago to be closer to Cheney's family. In an interview with the Post six months ago, when asked if she and Poe wanted children, Cheney said that was a "conversation I think I should have with Heather first."

    In November, Virginia voters passed a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions; state law is unclear on whether Poe could have full legal rights as a parent of Cheney's child. The circumstances of the pregnancy will remain private, said the source close to the couple. This is the first child for both.

    As frustrating as Cheney's reticence to speak out on gay rights has been, she makes a pretty powerful case for tolerance just by living her life as part of a very public family with conservative Republican credentials that are unquestioned.  Mary Cheney's family has embraced her partner, their relationship and now the idea of a child being born and raised by them — all without jettisoning their conservative Republican world view, or being jettisoned by other conservative Republicans.

    They love their daughter, and they accept her for who she is and want to be a part of her life.  Most members of my own conservative Republican family have never gotten that far, refusing to meet or even talk to anyone they consider part of my "gay life," including an ex I was with for eight years. Faced with the prospect that my partner and I might have children, I was told, "I would hope a judge somewhere would prevent that."

    So while we shake our heads at all that Mary could have accomplished if she'd been a little more aggressive defending her family within the Republican Party, let's be thankful for the example she and the Cheneys are setting for other conservatives.



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    1. jimbo on Dec 6, 2006 3:57:55 PM:

      It is good that Mary and her partner are expecting, and that she is kind of out. But Mary probably doesn't have to worry about health care costs or legal custody issues - she's got the bucks to take care of all those things. But same-sex partners of middle or lower-class status aren't so lucky. I think the anti gay marriage amendments hurt those people the most, as they can't always afford the legal costs to bind or unbind, and would most appreciate shared health insurance coverage.

    1. Tim on Dec 6, 2006 7:21:48 PM:

      political affiliation is no guarantee of acceptance. i have heard both types of stories and it has helped lead to my ambivalence on depending on politics to settle the issue. We simply need more families like the cheney's to not be afraid of keeping their daughter in the spot light with them and being every bit the supportive and accepting family they seem to be.

    1. Andoni on Dec 6, 2006 9:14:50 PM:

      I believe this is a major turning point in the march for gay rights. There are three important audiences here: the gay community and its friends, the non aligned middle on gay rights, and the conservative religious right.

      Politically it doesn’t matter what the gay community thinks about Mary and her pregnancy.

      However, when the vast middle sees how accepting Mary’s parents are of her, her partner and her pregnancy and how much they are looking forward to the grandchild, I believe that the actions of the Vice President and his wife will go a long way in sending the message to middle America that this is OK. Also, a large segment of the public will see the hypocrisy in the official Republican platform and not listen to or believe the words any more since the leaders of the party apparently don’t.

      As for the religious right, I think they will realize this is their Waterloo. They have lost the battle in the most visible fashion. And if they don’t quite see that, then at a minimum they will feel betrayed, get angry or become dejected.

      And all this from little Mary Cheney, the person we kept begging to take a stronger stand for gay rights and to become more visible on our issues . Well now, either intentional or unintentional, she is visible (pun intended) and I think it’s marvelous. Bravo Mary!

    1. TimC on Dec 7, 2006 11:44:19 AM:

      Tom Toles has a great editorial cartoon in the 12/7 Washington Post on this subject.

    1. KJ on Dec 7, 2006 12:33:56 PM:

      The amount of hate directed toward Mary is breathtaking. Peace and blessing to Mary and Heather as they start their family.

    1. Queer Beacon on Dec 8, 2006 2:16:56 AM:

      I think Andoni nailed it. She is more visible now than ever and that is a big thing.

    1. Andoni on Dec 8, 2006 5:32:13 PM:

      Mary Cheney is driving the religious right nuts!

      There are people on Fox saying that what she has done should be outlawed……… that there should be a mandatory father for every pregnancy. I say, keep it up religious right. Go for a constitutional amendment in Virginia (Mary’s home state) trying to enact such a theocratic-dictatorial law. The more of a spotlight you receive for your true agenda, the better it is for the rest of us.

      By being herself and living her life as she sees fit, Mary Cheney has belted a grand slam home run for our cause.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she and Poe moved to Massachusetts or visited Canada to marry…….. and say that they did it so their child wouldn’t be born out of wedlock. I can almost feel the 8.0 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter in either Virginia Beach or Colorado Springs if they do that.

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