Elizabeth (L) and Mary Cheney, daughters of Vice President Dick Cheney, attend the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. on Sept. 1, 2004.
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty

Mary Cheney wades deeper into marriage debate


Weeks after the Cheney family’s internal feud over gay marriage first erupted, Mary Cheney, one of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughters, is wading deeper into the debate.

Mary Cheney spoke at a fundraiser Wednesday in Indianapolis, making a conservative case for gay marriage in Indiana, where same-sex marriage supporters are fighting a constitutional ban on gay marriages. The event benefited Freedom Indiana, a group that opposes the state’s proposed ban.

“I’m pretty conservative, actually, I’m really conservative. Look, I’m pro-life, pro-gun, I think more government is almost never the solution to any problem,” Cheney. “As a conservative, I also believe that strong families are the cornerstone of our society, that we, as a society, should do everything we can to make sure that all families are provided with the greatest opportunity for success.”

The event was closed to the public, but organizers released a video of Cheney’s remarks to the press.

Cheney touched on her own marriage to Heather Poe and parenting two children as a gay couple. She went on to say that all families – no matter their shape, size, or gender make-up – deserve to be treated equally under the law.

“There are thousands and thousands of families like mine, all across this country, and right here in Indiana. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I support the idea of marriage equality, you probably figured that out when I said I married someone named Heather,” Cheney said, to laughter. “But you don’t have to support marriage equality to oppose H.J.R. 6. It’s just a bad piece of legislation.”

Indiana’s proposed amendment to the state constitution would define legal marriage as between a man and a woman. There is no law in Indiana permitting gay marriage, but this law would go further in prohibiting it—it could even force penalties on religious leaders who perform same-sex marriages in a religious setting and have other consequences for gay couples. Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature passed the measure in 2011, but it needs to pass again and be subjected to a state referendum before it would alter the constitution.

“It would permanently write discrimination into the Indiana constitution,” Cheney said.

The Cheney family feud was made public when Liz Cheney, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming, said last month on Fox News Sunday that she doesn’t support gay marriage, even though her sister, Mary Cheney, married a woman last year. Mary’s partner, Heather, responded on Facebook, criticizing her sister-in-law for going against her family for the sake of the campaign.

Dick Cheney has made it clear several times in the last few weeks that he sides with Liz Cheney, most recently saying that he and his wife “were surprised when there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook and wished it hadn’t happened.”