September 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Mary Cheney: Backing gay rights will help GOP become majority party
Mary Cheney, LCR, gay news, Washington Blade

Mary Cheney spoke at the Log Cabin Republicans Spirit of Lincoln Dinner on Wednesday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

For Mary Cheney, backing gay rights isn’t just the right course of action for the Republican Party in moral terms, it’s also the path that’ll help the GOP at the polls.

The lesbian political consultant and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney made the case for Republicans to back gay rights during her keynote speech Wednesday at the National Log Cabin Republicans annual “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner in D.C.

“Simply and clearly affirming the rights and dignity of gay men and women will not make us a weaker party — it will help make us a majority party,” Mary Cheney said. “We haven’t come this far without an awful lot of confidence in the justness of our cause.”

Cheney said support for gay rights is a natural fit for Republicans because “freedom and equality” are the founding principles of the party.

“I am not a conflicted conservative, struggling to reconcile personal views with settled principles,” Cheney said. “Sometimes you hear people speak as if freedom and equality for gay Americans requires some sort of radical departure from the ideals of the party of Lincoln. And this never fails to amaze me — because I always thought freedom and equality were the ideals of the party of Lincoln.”

Cheney said she considers herself a conservative because she believes in the free market; doesn’t “skip from the First Amendment to the Third” and is “proud to be a responsible gun owner”; shares the Reagan view that man isn’t free unless government is limited; and considers family the cornerstone of society.

“I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I will say it again – all families — regardless of how they look, how they’re made or where they live — all families deserve to be treated with the same respect, dignity, legal rights and recognitions as every other — I firmly believe that,” Cheney said.

Cheney, who was well-received by the audience of gay conservatives, made headlines earlier in the year over a family tiff in which she publicly rebuked her sister Liz Cheney for declaring her opposition to same-sex marriage, who was running as a candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.

Cheney recalled her own father’s endorsement of marriage equality 14 years ago, saying efforts like his have helped change minds leading to growth in support for the idea.

“Fourteen years after my dad first spoke those words in a nationally televised debate, they don’t seem quite so daring as they did back then,” Cheney said. “And one reason for that is that Log Cabin, and other like-minded efforts, have got people thinking. You’ve accepted the challenge of persuading. You have been persistent and offered reasoned arguments, not just blunt demands and accusations. And quite frankly that makes all the difference.”

Other attendees at the dinner were Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) as well as Republican congressional candidates Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei.

Read Mary Cheney’s full remarks here.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Michael Bedwell

    Mary [Cheney], please! So you said one good thing in a speech filled with so much other bullet points of crap that I threw up a little in my mouth just reading it. Among other things, there is the Magical Thinking of “not [being] a Republican with reservations….some sort of radical departure from the ideals of the party of Lincoln.” Sorry, but THAT party has ALWAYS opposed civil rights for gays—if it hadn’t, your remarks, contradictory and hallucinatory as they were, wouldn’t be news. Of course, you can’t be too harshly judged for misrepresenting what your warmongering monster father said about marriage equality when most gays of all stripes saw in it what they WANTED to see, too. In fact, if one reads it closely he contradicted himself. An objective rewrite of what your father actually said would be: “freedom means freedom for everybody—UNLESS they live in a state that chooses to deny it to them.” And, yes, Boys & Girls, that was once the opinion of both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. too. Yeh, some of us can dare criticize BOTH sides. In fact, if there is ONE good thing to say about Log Cabin it is that it filed the lawsuit against DADT that played a huge role in forcing homophobic then-SECDEF Robert Gates into no longer [overtly] opposing repeal because he didn’t want the court ending it immediately. And, again, yes, so soon most people forget that Obama, Inc., ruthlessly FOUGHT that lawsuit, and demanded [and got} a halt on the District Court’s ordering an immediate end to discharges. Still, for all this Democratic Administration’s past and ongoing mistakes, Ms. Cheney shows no signs of ever catching up, let alone her Party. Fail.

  • El Dorado

    So Mary Cheney found a mouth to defend her rights as a Lesbian instead of just being used as a doormat while her father was VP and being told to keep silent so christian conservatives would not be offended. Her behavior during those years was a disgrace and shameful. Will the Blade allow me the free speech to say so or stifle it? After all you know what I’m saying is true.

    Fat chance the GOP will embrace gay rights any time soon. Their base is christian conservatives and they are always afraid that these people will splinter off into a third party and siphon off votes they need. Gays only matter to them when they need to appear to be compassionate.

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