The Cheneys Make Case for Marriage Equality
BY Lucas Grindley
September 14 2011 1:31 PM ET
Former vice president Dick Cheney and wife Lynne Cheney have repeatedly expressed support for same-sex marriage, but when they reiterated their opinion Tuesday on The View it still got attention.
The Cheneys are pro–marriage equality at at time when the loudest voices of their party are moving in the other direction, and the former vice president touts states' rights on an issue where some strict constitutionalists have drawn a line.
"As you know, Dick and I have a daughter who is gay, with a wonderful partner named Heather and two wonderful grandchildren," said Lynne Cheney in response to a question from Barbara Walters. She said her grandchildren are "well loved" and "I think whatever Mary and Heather decide to do is up to Mary and Heather."
When Joy Behar followed up with the former vice president, he easily agreed with his wife.
"You agree with that?" Behar asked.
"Yes," he said straightforwardly. "I think freedom means freedom for everybody, and you ought to have the right to make whatever choice you want to make with respect to your own personal situation."
Cheney has made his feelings known on the issue as far back as the 2004 election, moving way ahead of his party. Most of the current crop of presidential candidates has pledged to try banning same-sex marriage with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution — something Cheney does not support.
Cheney has said states have the right to decide their own rules, and he backed that philosophy again on The View.
"Different states are going to come to different conclusions," he said. "But I think I certainly don't have any problem with it."
A few of the Republican presidential candidates have carefully walked the states' rights line, but they err on the other side of the fence. For example, Rep. Michele Bachmann appeals to the Tea Party forces by saying the federal government shouldn't intervene in states such as New York that have enacted marriage equality while she simultaneously backs an amendment to the Constitution. Texas governor Rick Perry has adopted a similar stance after first seeming to take the view that states have the right to decide for themselves and should be left alone.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was in office when same-sex marriage became legal in his state, and he's now seeking a federal ban that would essentially overturn the court ruling. As governor, he was unsuccessful in convincing lawmakers in the predominantly liberal state to overrule the court by amending the state constitution.
Asked whether he plans to endorse any of the candidates, Dick Cheney was coy.
"I have not endorsed anybody," he said, while also saying some of the field had impressed him more than others. "I don't know, depends on how this show goes, whether they want me to endorse them or not."