By Rex Wockner
Lynne Cheney, wife of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, opposes the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that President George W. Bush repeatedly has called for.
The Cheney’s daughter, Mary, is openly gay.
“I don’t support an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage,” Mrs. Cheney told National Public Radio’s Fresh Air Feb. 9. “I think it’s a matter that should be left to the states.
“As a conservative, I don’t support constitutional amendments generally unless the cause is clear and evident,” she said. “The issue here, of course, is that some people think a constitutional amendment is necessary in order to preserve the rights of the states. I happen not to come down on that side of the issue and, indeed, there are many Republicans who do [not].
“I think if you looked at our national convention, for example, among the prominent speakers – Gov. Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani – feel the same way. It’s not an issue that sets the Republican Party apart in one great mass. It’s an issue upon which people differ.”
Cheney grew testy when Fresh Air host Terry Gross tried to question her further on the issue.
Gross said that when President Bush said in his State of the Union address “that this amendment would be for the good of families, children and society, I couldn’t help but wonder if parents of gays and lesbians would see it as being good for their families, and I–”
Cheney interrupted, “Terry, I don’t support the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and I’ll leave it right there.”
Gross persisted, “Is it because of the issue of gay marriage itself or is it because it should just be a states’ issue and not a –”
Cheney interrupted, “Terry, I don’t support the idea of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and I will leave it right there.”
Gross pressed on, “Just one more question about the position that you’re in–”
Cheney interrupted, “Terry, I really think that we came here to discuss history more than current events, and I’ve made my position clear.”
Gross then asked, “Is it difficult to be in a position where you’re differing from the president?”
Cheney snapped: “Well, not too difficult, since I’ve done it how many times now in the last 10 minutes? Perhaps six? I’ve made my position clear.”
Near the end of the interview, Gross broached the topic again.
Gay groups, she said, “interpret your silence on the subject as either embarrassment or political discomfort, because it would be difficult for you to politically speak out about gay rights. Do you care to say anything about the reason why you are uncomfortable saying more?”
Cheney responded, “Terry, I think I’ve spent probably more of my interview with you on that topic than, I would venture to say, any other guest you’ve had in the last six months, so I think maybe the charge is inaccurate.”
Vice President Cheney also opposes the constitutional amendment.
“States have made the basic fundamental decision what constitutes a marriage,” he said during last year’s campaign. “That’s appropriately a matter for the states to decide and that’s how it ought to best be handled.
“[F]reedom means freedom for everybody,” the vice president said. “People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.”
During his Feb. 2 State of the Union address, President Bush said: “Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them. Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.”