On Sunday during a live interview on CBS, Liz Cheney, the politician, and daughter of Dick Cheney, finally admitted that she “believes her dad was right” regarding his longstanding views that same-sex marriage is not a negative practice. Considering the conservative politician’s previous statements over the years, many viewers found Liz Cheney’s confession shocking.
Dick Cheney’s other daughter (and Liz’s younger sister), Mary, is openly gay and has been married to a woman for 14 years, which has only complicated and publicized the feud between the two sisters even more.
The two Cheney sisters are said to have been connected at the hip as children, as demonstrated in Mary Cheney’s book Now It’s My Turn, and were both heavily involved in their father’s campaigns. However, as the girls grew into women with ever-evolving opinions, the relationship became more and more strained, especially when Liz took the political stand herself.
Mary came out of the closet as a junior in high school and met Heather Poe during her young adult years. They were hockey competitors (Mary a goalie and Heather a defenseman), and eventually developed intense feelings for each other. Soon, the two bought property together in Denver and moved in together around 1995. They now live in Virginia together with their two children.
Five years later, Liz and Mary’s father began his campaign for vice president, running with Bush for the Republican party. Because many Republicans are known to have cruel viewpoints of the queer society, an advanced level of discomfort boiled over inside Mary. Working as her father’s director of vice-presidential campaign operations at the time, Mary was overwhelmed with the anti-gay rhetoric that could be heard among her father’s peers.
She later admitted that the popular political buttons that read “One man, one woman. Just as God intended.” nearly caused her to drop out of her father’s campaign. Mary’s wife, Heather, was also massively uncomfortable and despised being in the public eye, especially given the circumstances of the women’s relationship relative Dick’s political campaign.
Despite Dick Cheney’s conservative viewpoints and now being the oldest living vice president, he has proven to be more accepting of people being their authentic selves than many individuals in younger generations. He recognized the pain and humiliation his daughter and her partner were facing and made the bold move to express opposition to his running mates during a vice presidential debate in 2000.
“I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to be in…We live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everyone.”
Liz Cheney Finally Admits Fault for Homophobic History
Again in 2004, Dick Cheney described why he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. In 2009, Cheney, both publicly and defiantly, denounced the maltreatment of same-sex couples. With the support of both Mr. and Mrs. Cheney, the couple finally married in 2011, without the presence of Liz. In 2012, a year after the wedding of Mary and Heather, Liz Cheney launched a campaign to be elected U.S. Senate in the family’s home state of Wyoming.
Though Liz and Mary’s parents have admitted that Liz has felt strongly about the importance of traditional marriages, her political fervor ushered in a new area of antagonism. After being accused of suddenly and “aggressively” promoting same-sex marriages by political ads and voters (which Liz found damaging to her conservative reputation), Liz decided to address the subject in 2013 during a Fox News interview:
“I love Mary very very much, I love her family very very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree,” Liz Cheney said at the time. However, after seeing Liz devalue her own sister’s marriage on national television, Mary took to Facebook to share her feelings, “Liz- this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree, you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.”
Soon after, Liz withdrew from her campaign due to self-proclaimed health concerns amidst the backlash she was facing from multiple directions of both the political spectrum and her relatives. Ever since her sister’s unexpected statement about “being wrong” to oppose same-sex marriage, Mary, now 52, says that she is proud of her sister for admitting fault.
“It took a ton of courage to admit that she was wrong back in 2013 when she opposed marriage equality. That is something few politicians would ever do.”
Eventually, Liz Cheney ran for a political chair again, and successfully became the singular representative for Wyoming in the House of Representatives. During this time, though Mary did not necessarily support her sister’s campaign, she made it abundantly clear that she “[wasn’t hoping] she loses.” This was one of the few references the sisters had publicly made toward each other until Liz’s NBC interview on September 26.
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