Mary Cheney grows a pair on gay marriage – or not

Mary Cheney has now decided she’s shocked and offended that her sister Liz has the same anti-gay positions, on gay marriage in particular, as the Bush Administration, which Mary herself spent years campaigning for.


As far back as 2000, Mary happily allowed herself to be used as a prop for the wildly deceptive “compassionate conservative” branding effort the Bush ticket was promoting, then sat silently by as political appointees like Scott Bloch busily worked to take away the protections of federal employees who were LGBT, and Monica Goodling reportedly attempted to purge the administration of gay employees. People less connected than Mary needed our help.

Where was Mary Cheney?



Although the first three years of Bush’s term were hard on gay people, I would argue that the lowest point for us in recent history was in 2004.

Bush, Rove and the Republicans had long used us as a wedge issue, but in their efforts to defeat rival John Kerry they kicked it up a notch by pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment, an amendment to the United States Constitution forever enshrining anti-gay bigotry in the nation’s founding document, something that would also have banned civil unions and domestic partnerships, and quite likely led to the vitiation of all gay rights laws nationwide.

Mary Cheney, working as her father’s director of vice presidential operations in perhaps the ugliest campaign in a generation, again remained silent. You might recall that John Aravosis launched a Web site and campaign in 2004, called, imploring Mary to speak up and help her own community – to no avail. The administration continued to push constitutional amendments to ban same sex marriage on state ballots across the nation.

After those elections and brutal anti-gay propaganda wars, after we were successfully maligned, marginalized and vilified in order to keep Republicans in power, the United Church of Christ decided to run a commercial telling queer people that we were welcome at their church. Yes, the climate was so hostile that a church felt the need to do that. No major network would agree to run the commercial out of fear of offending the Bush Administration.

To this day that infuriates me, and to this day I believe heads should roll for that decision.


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It’s during times of hardship that you know who your friends are, and at the end of 2004 not even the network that brought us Will & Grace was standing with our people. We were on the cold side of the wedge.

I take the cynical view that all parties in the Cheney family are following a script which allows them to have their cake and eat it too. Mary’s helping out Liz by feigning outrage, which draws attention to Liz’s anti-gay bona fides. Mary gets to pull a Ken Mehlman, attempting to salvage her legacy while making amends with those she’s betrayed, after profiting handsomely from her long career as a Republican quisling.

Five minutes ago, Mary Cheney was showering anti-gay marriage Mitt Romney and other anti-gay GOP candidates with campaign cash, and didn’t bat an eye at their anti-marriage positions. This moral outrage, lecturing her sister about being on the wrong side of history, is hard for me to swallow.

Backbones don’t suddenly develop at 45, when they were non-existent at 44.

Chris Andoe is an author and seasoned activist. After meeting John Aravosis at a Chicago “” protest in 2000, Chris was inspired to organize his own major demonstrations in St. Louis, which drew national attention. Since then, his activism has revolved around LGBT, affordable housing, and mass transit issues. In 2011 Andoe made headlines taking on the amorphous hacker group Anonymous for publishing nude photos of a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesperson, saying “Puritanical shame-based tactics have no place in the capital of sexual liberation”, and he extensively covered San Francisco's jarring gentrification, from mass evictions to the nudity ban. Andoe was on the ground in Ferguson at the height of the unrest, recording events as they unfolded. Always in the fray, Andoe’s been interviewed by NPR, CBS, and has been quoted from CNN to The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

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