Press

Vice President Cheney Comes Out Against Blatantly Discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment; Acknowledges ‘Gay’ Daughter

Date: 
August 24, 2004

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Statement by Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director:

"We are heartened that by taking a stand for his daughter, at long last Vice President Cheney is standing up for real family values.

His words, however, mean very little unless the Bush/Cheney administration withdraws its aggressive support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, the so-called Marriage Protection Act and numerous other attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families that have been put forward over the last three and a half years. The Bush/Cheney administration should also immediately stop using lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to divide America and defame gay families.

We look forward to the Vice President using his extraordinary influence with the President to make this happen."

More information on the struggle for marriage equality can be found in the Task Force Marriage Information Resource Center at http://www.TheTaskForce.org/marriagecenter

Download the free Task Force Policy Institute report, "The Bush/Cheney Administration on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues" at http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/BushCheneyKeyIssues.pdf

Following is the initial transcript from remarks made in Davenport, Iowa, today, Aug. 24:

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was asked: "I need to know, Sir, from your heart -- I don't want to know what your advisers think or even your top adviser -- I need to know, what do you think about homosexual marriages?"

The vice president replied: "Well, the question has come up in the past with respect to the question of gay marriage. Lynne and I have a gay daughter so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with. We have two daughters and we have enormous pride in both of them, they're both fine young women and they do a superb job, frankly, of supporting us, and we were blessed with both our daughters.

"With respect to the question of [unintelligible word] relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. The question that comes up with respect to the issue of marriage is, what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government, if you will, to the particular relationship?

"Historically," Cheney said, "that's been a relationship that's been handled by the states. States have made the basic fundamental decision what constitutes a marriage. I made clear four years ago when this question came up in my debate with Joe Lieberman that my view was that that's appropriately a matter for the states to decide and that's how it ought to best be handled.

"The president has, as a result of the decisions made in Massachusetts this year by judges, felt that he wanted to support a constitutional amendment to define at the federal level what constitutes marriage, that his perception was that the courts in effect were beginning to change without the people being involved, without their being part of the political process -- that the courts, in this case a court in Massachusetts, were making the judgment or the decision for the entire country, and he disagreed with that. So where we're at at this point is, he's come out in support of a federal constitutional amendment and I don't think that, so far, it hasn't had the votes to pass.

"There is the federal Defense of Marriage Act that passed in 1996 and, to date, it has not been successfully challenged in the court, and it may be sufficient to resolve the issue," Cheney said. "At this point my own preference is as I've stated, but the president makes basic policy for this administration and he's made it clear that he does in fact support an amendment on this issue."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.