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Gay Leaders Applaud Mary Cheney for Public Support of Gay Rights

Gay Leaders Applaud Mary Cheney for Public Support of Gay Rights

She took a public stand against President Bush and his antigay policies in her new book, Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicleof Political Life.

In an editorial published in Monday's edition of TheWashingtonPost, former Human Rights Campaign director Elizabeth Birch and her longtime partner, Hilary Rosen, applauded Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, for taking a public stand against President Bush and his antigay policies in her new book, Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicleof Political Life, to be released Tuesday. "We had presumed that was the case but are certainly glad to hear it," Birch and Rosen wrote together. "We admit we have been tough on Cheney over the years. This week we've debated each other over the wrongs we feel her family and their allies have perpetrated on the gay and lesbian community and what the impact of her current activities will be."

Noting how the GOP has used gay rights as a political wedge issue for many years, Birch and Rosen said that until the release of her book, Cheney had apparently "opted to be a loyal daughter" rather than stand up for her fellow gay and lesbian Americans. "Mary Cheney has not just stood by but actively worked as a paid campaign operative to reelect the Bush-Cheney-GOP ticket," they wrote. "So the resentment runs deep."

"Yet we've concluded that at this moment in time, the past doesn't seem nearly as important as the future," Birch and Rosen continued. "And though the gay movement deserves credit for much of the acceptance she is receiving, Mary's presence on the national stage--the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives--is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans."

Gay rights activist John Aravosis, who runs Americablog.com, wrote on his Web site that he agreed with that idea but said any editorial supporting Cheney may be premature. "The Cheneys," he wrote, "including Mary, need to do more than just point out that they love each other--they need to do something to help the millions of other Cheney-type families being threatened by gay-bashing Republican politics."

It's great that Cheney has come out in support of gay rights, he said, but what's important to note is that "Mary chose not to help her community when it mattered the most--when her father and his boss were trying to write our second-class citizenship in the U.S. Constitution. As Mary now concedes, no one forced her to sit back silently while her father's administration--her administration--dehumanized her own lover. George Bush offered her the chance to go public and defend her community. But Mary chose to sit back silently and do nothing." (The Advocate)

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