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Liz Cheney sparks family feud with anti-gay marriage remarks

The Senate candidate's remarks caused her own sister to rebuke her
Liz Cheney speaks during a campaign appearance in Casper, Wyo. on July 17, 2013.
Liz Cheney speaks during a campaign appearance in Casper, Wyo. on July 17, 2013.

Looks like it's going to be an awkward Thanksgiving for the Cheneys. 

The daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney ended up in a public dispute Sunday after Liz Cheney said that she and her married, gay sister "just disagree" on the subject of marriage equality. The comment from Liz Cheney, who is challenging the Republican Sen. Mike Enzi in a primary challenge, prompting a sharp rebuke from her sister Mary Cheney and renewed attention on the struggling candidacy of the former vice president's daughter 

“Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree, you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history,” Mary Cheney wrote on her Facebook page. She also included comments from her wife, Heather Poe, who wrote: “Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 – she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

Liz Cheney is struggling in the polls against Enzi, a staunch conservative and incumbent in Wyoming. She has been accused of carpetbagging _ moving her family from Northern Virginia to her father's home state to seek a solidly Republican seat.

A group that supports Enzi has gone after Cheney as being soft on gay marriage in an attack ad.  Cheney has responded by saying she opposes same-sex marriage.  In the interview Sunday, she said her past support of a State Department policy that grants benefits to same sex couples is not inconsistent with her broader opposition to allowing those couples to get married.

The interview prompted the response from Cheney's sister Mary _ the second time the sisters have sparred publicly on the issue in recent months. In August, Mary Cheney posted that she loved her sister but that "she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage."

Former Vice President Cheney announced his support for gay marriage in 2009. 

On Monday, he and his wife Lynne Cheney released a statement on their daughters' public feud to NBC's Jamie Gangel. 

This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public. Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister's family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done. Compassion is called for, even when there is disagreement about such a fundamental matter and Liz's many kindnesses shouldn't be used to distort her position.

But Mary Cheney suggested her sister's position had changed. In a phone interview Sunday with The New York Times, Mary Cheney said she thought her sister shared her father’s views on marriage and that Liz Cheney had been very supportive of Mary's family. She and Poe have two children together. “What amazes me is that she says she’s running to be a new generation of leader,” Mary Cheney told The Times. “I’m not sure how sticking to the positions of the last 20 or 30 years is the best way to do that.