14 October 2004

Mary Cheney

Andrew Sullivan says what I've been thinking about Kerry and Edwards mentioning Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary in the debates. It's important to know that not only is she out, she was the gay and lesbian public liason for Coors. Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney should be no more offensive than Bush mentioning Kerry's daughters.

Here's an excerpt from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish:

There's something about Mary: I keep getting emails asserting that Kerry's mentioning of Mary Cheney is somehow offensive or gratuitous or a 'low blow'. Huh? Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president's family. That's a public fact. No one's privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush's wife or daughters, no one says it's a 'low blow.' The double standards are entirely a function of people's lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It's a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this - and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush's base uncomfortable? Well, good. It's about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president. It's an attack on all families with gay members - and on the family as an institution. That's a central issue in this campaign, a key indictment of Bush's record and more than relevant to any debate. For four years, this president has tried to make gay people invisible, to avoid any mention of us, to pretend we don't exist. Well, we do. Right in front of him.


Anonymous said...

While Andrew Sullivan is right about Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney, unfortunately, the majority of Americans are not quite ready for prime-time discussion of gays and their agenda. Out of sight, out of mind seems to be the preferred method of dealing with uncomfortable subjects for most Americans.

And if you want a majority of the votes on Nov 2, it is best to speak in generalities, so as not to "offend" anyone. The polls on this subject are in agreement: Kerry should not have mentioned Mary Cheney.

zippy said...

I think the source of any discomfort with Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney is a national discomfort with homosexuality.

But I think the deep reason is not simply that many people are uncomfortable with homosexuality, it's that they consider it a slur to call someone homosexual.

Consider this - a national politician can lobby against same-sex rights and not make the majority of voters uncomfortable. They can bring up the gay issue in the context of denial of rights, and that is acceptable. But to bring up homosexuality in a personal sense - to label a politician as homosexual, or to mention that their daughter, a public liason to the gay and lesbian community, is gay, well, that's off-limits.