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.

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  • charlotte gordon

    I found this inspirational. Thank you for the clear and thoughtful analysis of Cheney’s hypocrisy.
    charlotte gordon

  • Mike Visaggio

    All of this confusion and mud slinging could be avoided if we could just understand

    (1) The 14th Amendment was not intended to undo the traditional institution of marriage, and is not applicable; and

    (2) gay people already have the exact same marriage rights as straight people (to wit, any gay person may marry a person of the opposite sex, just as any straight person can).

    The fact that gay people do not wish to marry persons of the opposite sex does not justify redefining the ancient and time-honored custom of reserving marriage to people of opposite sexes. The Natural Law (google that!) plainly shows that marriage is part of the means of defining the relationship BETWEEN the sexes since time immemorial. It has been so in every society, on every continent, in every race, in every religion, in every time period.

    I cannot abide the opinion that the Constitution evolves with the times, as it is a document telling us what the limitations on the federal government are, nothing more or less. All “living document” proponents ignore this. Seeking to establish social change based on reading into the text meanings plainly not contemplated by the Founders, is to bastardize its purpose and by so doing imbue the federal government with more and more power. Using the 14th Amendment here is an attempt to evolve the document.

    Dick Cheney may be hypocritical in this exchange, but his is certainly matched by many of you on the left, especially when you trot out the Constitution to support things you want to see happen that are not the province of the federal government.

  • Zashkaser

    Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you evidently have natural ability for blogging!

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