The most dangerous thing to do in Washington these days is to stand between Dick Cheney and a microphone. He’s been talking A LOT, especially in his futile attempt to prove that torture is a good policy. Yesterday he spoke at the National Press Club – mostly about torture, but he also made a revelation on another major issue. The former veep declared:
I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish.
It’s kind of ironic that the most powerful vice-president in American history was apparently powerless to stop his boss, President Bush, from declaring support to amend the Constitution to declare marriage to be a union of one man and one woman. Oh well.
Taken in light of the recent comments from John McCain’s campaign manager (warning of the Republicans becoming a theocratic party), this could be seen as good news for the future of the Republican Party. But, as with every political statement, there is a catch. Cheney also said:
The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis.
That’s not so encouraging. It’s the equivalent of saying you supported desegregation without supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Constitution guarantees equal protection to all persons regardless of what state they live in. In fact Congress is specifically authorized to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment through legislation. If marriage equality is left to the states, discrimination will continue linger in corners of this country for decades.
So two steps forward, one step back.