Mary Cheney, daughter of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, were married June 22 in a civil ceremony in Washington performed by an out gay judge.
In their marriage license application filed in D.C. Superior Court, Cheney and Poe indicated they had selected U.S. Tax Court Judge Joseph H. Gale to perform their marriage ceremony.
Gale’s chamber administrator, Judy Sebold, told the Blade the judge performed the ceremony in his chambers at the U.S. Tax Court at 400 2nd Street, N.W.
“Our daughter Mary and her long time partner, Heather Poe, were married today in Washington, D.C., the former vice president and his wife, Lynne Cheney said in a statement first released to the Daily Caller, a conservative-leaning blog.
“Mary and Heather have been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have their relationship recognized,” the Cheneys said in the statement. “Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness.”
President Bill Clinton nominated Gale to his U.S. Tax Court judgeship post in 1996 and the Senate confirmed the appointment that same year. As his term was scheduled to expire in 2011, President Barak Obama nominated him for a second term, with the Senate confirming the nomination a short time later.
When he testified before the Senate Committee on Finance for his September 12, 2011 confirmation hearing, Gale introduced his mother, brother, and domestic partner.
“I want to thank my mother for all of her love and support for more years than either of us wants to count,” he said. “And finally my partner of more than 24 years, Will Hopkins, whose love, support, and wise counsel have been the bedrock for me over those years.”
It could not be immediately determined whether Mary Cheney and Heather Poe know Gale socially or chose him to perform their marriage because of his status as a gay man.
The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national LGBT advocacy group, includes Gale on its list of openly gay federal appointees.
The marriage of Cheney and Poe, who live in Northern Virginia, took place at a time when opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland announced they had obtained far more petition signatures than needed to place Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot for a voter referendum on Nov. 6. The Maryland General Assembly approved the marriage equality law earlier this year, but it has been on hold since opponents began the process of putting it up for a referendum vote.
Although Dick Cheney has stated for many years that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, neither he nor other Cheney family members, including Mary Cheney, have actively campaigned for same-sex marriage laws.
Jimmy LaSalvia, an official with the gay conservative group GOProud, released a statement to Daily Caller saying Mary Cheney and Heather Poe’s relationship have had a “tremendous impact” on how the nation views gay people.
“Simply by living their lives openly, honestly, and as authentic conservatives, they have done more to change hearts and minds in this country than any gay advocacy group,” LaSalvia said. “This is one more way that they are demonstrating that gay Americans are just like everyone else.”