Mary Cheney publicly slaps down sister Liz over anti-gay views

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughters, Mary and Liz, are in an open civil war over Liz’s increasingly strident stance against gay marriage.

Mary, who is openly gay, married her longtime partner, Heather Poe, in 2012. The couple has two children.

Liz, who is running a primary challenge against Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi, is positioning herself as an arch-conservative (which she is).  Here’s a sample of classic Liz Cheney:

“We have to not be afraid of being called obstructionists. Obstructing President Obama’s policies and his agenda isn’t actually obstruction, it’s patriotism.”

Liz also is famous for having criticized several Department of Justice attorneys who were representing Gitmo detainees (since everyone has a right to an attorney, even potentially bad people).  An organization she ran suggested that the lawyers had terrorist sympathies, simply because they were doing their jobs.  Even conservatives got on Liz’s case for that one.

Mary (l) and Liz (r) Cheney.

Mary (l) and Liz (r) Cheney, sisters battling over gay marriage.

But Liz, who hasn’t been doing terribly well in the polls, apparently went a step too far when she started becoming more vocal about her staunch opposition to gay marriage.

Here’s what Liz said on Fox News yesterday (Sunday) morning, reiterating her opposition to gay marriage – it’s in two short clips. Here’s a quick quote from it:

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

So they are a family?  Just not a legitimate family.  That doesn’t really make sense.  If they’re not really married, then they’re not a family, or are they, Liz?

Mary took Liz on over her opposition to gay marriage before. And while Mary’s earlier words were wrapped in the required “I love my sister,” I had a sense at the time that this was turning into something bigger. And it definitely, finally, has.

Mary’s wife Heather was livid at the latest broadside from Liz Cheney, and took to Facebook to challenge Liz rather in rather angry, and personal, terms:


Perhaps it wasn’t intentional, but it was interesting that Heather mentioned Liz moving “state to state” since one of the strongest attacks against Liz has been that she’s a carpetbagger that moved to Wyoming from Virginia.

Mary then weighed in, agreeing with Heather:


Mary then weighed in again, a few hours later, in response to a woman who basically accused Mary of being “intolerant” of her sister’s intolerance.  Mary was having none of it:


It’s been interesting to watch Mary Cheney’s transformation from closeted-openly-gay to actually openly-gay.

Now, in this case, note that it was Heather, not Mary, who played momma bear and took Liz down.  Mary chimed in and agreed, which was helpful, but one could argue that it was Mary’s job, not her spouse’s, to take on Mary’s own sister’s hateful words.

Mary and Heather face a basic underlying conundrum. They (or at least Mary) are Republicans.  And Republicans don’t like gay people.  Some, a growing number in fact, of individual Republicans do, but their party doesn’t.

And while it’s all well and good to be mad at Liz for being against gay marriage, Liz did say anything different than the presidential ticket Mary helped to elect in both 2000 and 2004.  And I suspect a lot of the other Cheney family friends aren’t terribly good on gay civil rights either.  They might be just dandy about gay people personally – so many anti-gays are – but when it comes to policy, the party Mary keeps helping is just as officially intolerant as her sister.

Mike Signorile chimed in with a similar point:


Mike has more detail:

[T]t’s pretty damned rich for Mary Cheney to be furious at her sister for supporting an anti-equality agenda when Mary worked her ass off to reelect George W. Bush, who ran on passing a federal marriage amendment and helped fuel bans on gay marriage that passed in state after state. Mary has since given thousands of dollars to anti-equality candidates across the country, including to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, all while living in Virginia with her then-partner and raising a family.

None of this is to undercut what Heather and Mary are doing here.  It takes courage to stand up to your own family, even more so in public. And now that Mary and Heather have children, it would have been awful for them not defend their family.

Coming out is a long process.  And even if you’re out to the world, you’re still, always, coming to terms (internally) with being gay.  And for gay Republicans, who aren’t so much living a lie as living a contradiction, even more so.  As I found out twenty years ago, as your own self-respect grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to stomach helping anyone who doesn’t respect who are you, and worse, who actively tries to undercut your (and in the case of Mary and Heather, your spouse’s and your children’s) humanity.

If you’re a gay Republican, and a decent human being, conflict is inevitable.

And chez Cheney, the inevitable has finally arrived.

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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44 Responses to “Mary Cheney publicly slaps down sister Liz over anti-gay views”

  1. karmanot says:

    Aside from the Borgia, it’s hard to imagine a more contemptible, vile family of vipers, whose whole rise and enormous wealth is based on blood money and the deaths of thousands of human beings.

  2. VolintheVille says:

    OH SNAP! Thanksgiving dinner with daddy Dick, is gonna be fun this year! Would someone pass those mashed potatoes?

  3. HelenRainier says:

    Indigo, you’ll be delighted to know that Kim and Kanye recently visited Harvard (perhaps one of the other Ivy League schools) where Kanye addressed students. They are also looking for more land in LA to build another mansion. Rumor has it they’re looking at property owned by Dr. Dre. You may rest easy now! :-)

  4. ottnott says:

    Mary (or Heather) would be more effective if they hit back in the ideological space of Liz’s supporters.

    Something like:
    Liz’s support of Sharia law is wrong for the United States and wrong for Wyoming. Our founders did not want us to become a nation like Iran, where government power is used to force citizens to conform to a single set of religious rules.

  5. karmanot says:

    Sorry: no credit, no forgiveness.

  6. cole3244 says:

    is she a log cabin republican in drag, inquiring minds want to know.

  7. tamarz says:

    well said!

  8. tamarz says:

    Glad she’s calling her sister on it, but it’s pathetic that it took so long. Where was she when you did your Dear Mary campaign? And, IIRC, she & her wife live in Virginia, a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage. They are protected by virtue of connections and wealth. But other gay couples with children may not be so lucky.

  9. MyrddinWilt says:

    I don’t think it is an maneuver by Liz. It would be a clueless one on any level. All it does it focus attention on the fact that her campaign is losing.

    But it might be a maneuver by Mary.

    Whatever happens, sounds like it is going to be a real special family gathering at the Cheney’s this year. They don’t just cook the turkey you know, they waterboard it first.

  10. MyrddinWilt says:

    She said nothing while her father was busy setting up the gulags in Guantanamo and the rest of the world and was instrumental in the torture policy.

    I think the problem with these people is that they cannot see any connection between what they do to people they know and what the policies they advocate for are intended to do to other people. The point of repealing Obamacare is so that people like Liz and Mary can feel all that much happier knowing that they are among the very few well off people with good health care.

    The are the type of people Dickens wrote about in Oliver Twist in the scene where the Beadle and the governors of the workhouse have a feast in full view of the children that they are starving. They find that their champagne tastes better when they know that they are the ones denying it to the rest.

    It is also a stupid move politically. The smart move for Liz Cheney would have been to realize that she has very little chance of winning this time round and to instead run on the platform she might win on in the future. But these people don’t have any commitment to their political positions so they don’t expect anyone else to.

    So she is evil and politically stupid. I actually prefer that to her father who was evil and politically smart.

  11. bbock says:

    I don’t buy this at all. Mary Cheney is used to working for anti-gay Republcians and helping them get elected and re-elected. She’s just playing her part as lesbian punching bag for her sister. Her sister needed to show how anti-gay she is (but isn’t, but is) and Mary is just helping her sister out. This is theater. It’s the way the Cheneys do politics.

  12. Jim Olson says:

    Absolutely not. The sooner “reality” television becomes passé, the better.

  13. BeccaM says:

    I’m in the “not much sympathy” camp, too. Mary Cheney and her wife had nothing to say while their father and his party turned gay people into scapegoats in 2004 and their party pushed relentlessly to ban gay marriage for years — and have not stopped.

    As far as I’m concerned, if someone is still a registered, loyal Republican, that puts you behind their party platform, which has included a marriage ban Constitutional amendment for over a decade now.

    That said, I have to laugh when someone makes like it’s merely fair to be tolerant of someone who doesn’t feel you deserve equal civil rights — and somehow that tolerance is supposed to extend to supporting them for high elected office where that homophobic bigot will have the actual power to abridge those rights and has said that’s what they plan to do.

  14. dcinsider says:

    Notwithstanding the above, how much fun is it watching the Cheney family self-destruct? Mommy and Daddy are supporting Lizzie, while Mary and wifey are threatening to throw the mashed potatoes at all of them during Thanksgiving.

    Can we get these people a reality show already?

  15. nicho says:

    Forgive and forget, but never forget what you forgive.

  16. nicho says:

    Aw, let them sort it out in the Cheney family compound in the re-education camp.

  17. vickif says:

    You could have used the right word for Lynn. I don’t think anyone here would have minded.

  18. vickif says:

    I wish they would just go away. The K’s I mean.

  19. Indigo says:

    I’m with that. Except I think it’ll take more than Clorox.

  20. Indigo says:

    Yes, yes, but now to really the important opinion makers, what are the Kardashians saying?

  21. angst in Berwyn says:

    I can whole-heartedly agree with you, dcinsider.

  22. Richard says:

    Liz Cheney is following the party line as any old white
    bigoted republican would do, in order to get elected. Mary is simply a
    hypocrite. Supporting anti-gay and anti-gay families politicians, such as
    her old man and the dufus Bush, really gives her no room to rebuke her sister
    Liz….. They’re all basically peas in a pod… hypocrites and bigots =
    Grand Old Party.

  23. douglas01 says:

    The entire Cheney family are pretty miserable excuses for human beings.

  24. The_Fixer says:

    I find it particularly cynical of Liz Cheney to bring this up in light of the fact that she is so far behind in the polls. It’s like she thinks that Wyoming voters are one-issue and that issue is gay marriage. It’s a tremendous miscalculation on her part.

    What are her other policy positions? Put together the fact that she is regarded as a “carptebagger” and that she has put herself out there as a one-issue candidate, and I suspect that the average Wyoming voter is not going to vote for her. This position is not going to save her. Her actions reek of cold-blooded Cheney calculated maneuvering.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    Evil turns upon itself.

  26. Naja pallida says:

    “Traditional marriage” is a man selling his daughter to another man for some political or monetary concession. It has changed a lot. The bigots just don’t care. As with almost any issue, the goal posts are where ever they want to put them, and according to the rules of the game which they wrote, those goal posts can be moved at any time. People like Liz Cheney don’t care about the Constitution, they only care about themselves.

  27. gratuitous says:

    It might be a ploy, but I’m thinking it isn’t. It looks more to me like Liz, who has been accustomed to having everything she wants, isn’t getting the Wyoming Senate seat she wants. Which means she is acting like every over-entitled brat you’ve seen since the beginning of time. Folks closest to Liz should be especially wary in the weeks to come, seeing as how Enzi is cleaning her clock.

  28. Leota2 says:

    She is doing this because she sits at the right hand of her daddy, Darth.
    They all want back in the game. I suppose the country still has a pulse that they want to extinguish.

  29. UncleBucky says:

    Well, YEAH! Good for you. Did you mention Lynn Cheney? She’s a bit quiet now, but she was a real piece of…. Work. Yes?

  30. UncleBucky says:

    Oh, Liz and her minions are really Neo-Confederates. If they could eliminate the Federal government or simply make it more like the Confederate federal government, they would.

    States righters are simply anarchists.

  31. Webster says:

    Liz, like her father, would bar-be-cue her dear old grandmama for a taste of sweet, sweet power. What a reprehensible, conscienceless family.

  32. UncleBucky says:

    Liz should dry up. Oh wait…. she is already a dried up old… hahahaha!

  33. Quilla says:

    Well said!

  34. dcinsider says:

    While I agree with dommyluc in principle, I can’t help but feel that perhaps we are too harsh to some people on their often-delayed journey to enlightenment. I’m no fan of Mary Cheney or her wife, both of whom seem to be like Jewish Nazis to me, but, as John notes, they are starting to come to terms with their obligation to speak out, and, like Ken Mehlman and other former traitors, they are now doing the right thing.

    Can we forgive and forget? Not likely. But let’s give credit where credit is due.

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  36. Houndentenor says:

    You could well be right. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them, and it also wouldn’t be the first time a Cheney used the New York Times in a cynical plan. (see: Miller, Judy) But if that’s Liz’s plan I think it’s backfiring. She’s not going to win this election and the vast majority of Americans are going to think she’s a narcissistic political hack. I don’t see any advantage to this. Unless she really thinks that people in Wyoming are going to think she’s a great American for opposing her own sister’s marriage (that she went to and seemed fine with before running for office?). This is amateurish and transparent, and all for nothing. Some polls show her 50 points behind Mike Enzi. Why the hell is she doing this?

  37. lynchie says:

    Yikes, but in a good way.

  38. heimaey says:

    Thank you Mr. Signorile!!!

  39. Ninja0980 says:

    I wouldn’t trust any of them as far as I can throw them.

  40. Leota2 says:

    I too thought it was a ploy . . . .Actually a part of me still thinks that it is. The Cheneys are pretty vile and I’d put nothing past them. Nothing. Mary has nothing to lose defending gay marriage and Liz has everything to gain openly opposing it.

  41. PolishBear says:

    Someone needs to tell Liz Cheney that absolutely NOTHING is happening to “traditional marriage” as it applies to people who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual). The human population will always be predominantly heterosexual, and Straight couples will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that is going to change when Gay couples decide to tie the knot also.

    Liz Cheney says marriage equality should be handled by the states, not the federal government. Problem is, MOST of the legal benefits and protections of marriage come from the federal government. During its recent DOMA decision, the Supreme Court could have issued a comprehensive ruling requiring Gay and Straight couples to be treated equally, at ALL levels of government, but instead they chose to punt on the some of the details.

    So what now? Most of the legal benefits of marriage come from the federal government. Take survivor benefits under Social Security, for example. Legally married Gay couples in Iowa are now entitled to those benefits, but suppose one of those couples relocates to West Virginia, which has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Does the state have the power to forcibly annul that marriage? And if so, does the couple now LOSE those federal benefits?

    As for “traditional marriage,” who DOESN’T support it? If any of my single Straight friends finds a compatible person of the opposite sex to get “traditionally married” to, no one will be happier than me. The fact that I support marriage equality for Gay couples does not mean I’m somehow opposed to “traditional marriage.” I look at this from a purely Constitutional standpoint. And unless the Constitution only applies to people who are Straight, there is no justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and opportunities that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

  42. olandp says:

    As if this is a surprise to anyone. The collective spawn of Satan disagree, right now, it will all work out in the end and evil will be reunited to destroy the American dream that we hold dear, so that they can make more millions on the suffering and death of their inferiors. It has always been thus.

  43. dommyluc says:

    Fuck them both. They deserve each other. Mary Cheney has got a lot of nerve acting like she’s some fucking saint of the gay marriage rights issue, with her history of helping her baby-eating father and his marionette, GWB, use gay people like cannon fodder to win elections. And please don’t say she has “evolved”. She’s the typical right-wing hypocrite: “rights for me but not for thee”. And don’t even get me started on that fucking Liz. If Big Dick wasn’t her daddy, she couldn’t get a job giving blowjobs at a puppy mill.
    The entire Cheney family is a shit stain on American history. Get out your Clorox, people.

  44. Houndentenor says:

    I was suspicious that this was all one big publicity stunt to make Liz look tough on this issue, but after reading the NYTimes article I don’t think that’s true.

    What I find offensive is this “agree to disagree” stance when someone’s rights are at issue. Mary puts it well. This isn’t about a minor policy issue where reasonable people can disagree and go out for beers. Liz’s position (as well as the anti-gay bigot facebook friend of Mary’s ) is that she’s not entitled to equal rights under the law. I doubt Ms. Morrison would be willing to agree to disagree if the issue affected her life so profoundly. Of course such sociopathy is characteristic of today’s right wing.

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