Mary Cheney, Partner Welcome Second Child

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Nov 19, 2009

Mary Cheney and her partner Heather Poe welcomed their second child, daughter Sarah Lynne Cheney, on Nov. 18. Cheney and Poe and their children, including firstborn child Samuel, are one of the nation's highest profile same-sex families due to Cheney being the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney's pregnancy became publicly known in October; Sarah Lynne is the seventh grandchild of Dick and Lynne Cheney.

Despite Dick Cheney having been part of what gay and lesbian equality leaders view as the most anti-gay administration in recent history, when it comes to same-sex families and Mary Cheney's domestic arrangements, the former Vice President has expressed acceptance and protectiveness. In the 2004 presidential campaign, Cheney lashed out when Democratic candidate John Kerry referenced Mary Cheney's sexuality.

During the 2004 campaign and again in 2009, Dick Cheney publicly declared support for gay and lesbian unions, and said that the matter of full marriage equality should be left to the discretion of individual states. Although Cheney's statements on the two occasions were similar, the 2009 statement earned him scathing rebukes from some extreme-right religious and social conservatives.

Last June, in a address to the National Press Club, the former vice president said, "As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay, and it's something that we've lived with for a long time in our family." Added Mr. Cheney, "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish."

One anti-gay pundit described those words as promting "sexual anarchy." Stated the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber, "If freedom to marry means, as he said, that people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, well then, he's virtually endorsing polyamory and polygamy, and incestuous marriage, and bestiality."

The 2006 birth of Cheney and Poe's firstborn, son Samuel David Cheney, also drew its share of condemnation from the religious right. James Dobson, founder of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, wrote an article for TIME Magazine in which Dobson reckoned that, "Two Mommies is One Too Many."

Dobson claimed in the article that, "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father.... That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child," Dobson continued. "But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy-any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl."

Mary Cheney has commented publicly on the claims from the religious right that children raised by same-sex parents do not fare as well as their peers with heterosexual parents.

Those claims are based on research into families headed by single mothers. Mary Cheney countered by citing research that focused on actual gay and lesbian families.

"Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents," Mary Cheney noted, adding, "What matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment."

Although Mary Cheney has been vocal in her support of equality for same-sex families, she also worked on the 2004 election campaign of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former President George W. Bush; moreover, in May of this year, Mary Cheney made a contribution to anti-gay politician Rob Portman, whose record includes votes against same-sex family equality and same-sex couples' adoption rights.

Portman served as an appointee in the George W. Bush administration, leaving his Congressional seat in 2005 in order to accept the post of United States Trade Representative. In 2006, he succeeded Joshua Bolten as the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The media reported earlier this autumn that Mary Cheney had plans to begin a consulting company with her sister Liz Cheney, an anti-Obama firebrand who has drawn media attention by claiming that the president's policies on national security are dangerous for America. Liz Cheney has also been embraced by so-called "birthers," conservatives who question the validity of President Obama's right to be president based on their claims that Obama might not have been born in Hawaii, or anywhere in the United States, as Obama claims and official records indicate.

Although the Obama camp has long since made authenticated copies of Certification of Live Birth available, the "birthers" insist that a more genuine document--a so-called "long form" certificate--ought to exist if Obama was, indeed, born on American soil. The State of Hawaii, however, only issues Certifications of Live Birth.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2009-11-20 13:12:50

    Nice. Now Rob Portman is endorsed by two mommies? He didn’t even have to court the Gay vote. They found him. What do you make of that?

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