Dick Cheney rarely takes a position that places him at a more progressive tilt than President Obama. But on Monday, the former vice president did just that, saying that he supports gay marriage as long as it is deemed legal by state and not federal government.
Speaking at the National Press Club for the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards, Cheney was asked about recent rulings and legislative action in Iowa and elsewhere that allowed for gay couples to legally wed.
“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,” replied the former V.P. “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. Any kind of arrangement they wish. 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. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.”
We hate Dick Cheney here at AMERICAblog.com. Hate him. But, even a broken clock is right twice a day. And, as Sam Stein, who wrote the article above, notes, this statement make Cheney more progressive than Obama on marriage equality. If Cheney can support marriage equality, there’s really no excuse for Obama and other leading Congressional Democrats.
Cheney has been using similar language since 2004, when he broke with his boss, George Bush, over the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage:
At a campaign rally in this Mississippi River town, Cheney spoke supportively about gay relationships, saying “freedom means freedom for everyone,” when asked about his stand on gay marriage.
“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue our family is very familiar with,” Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. “With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone. … People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.
“The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that’s been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage,” he said.
And, Congress should stay out of it. But, in 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which put the federal government in a position to regulate marriages at the state level. DOMA needs to go.
And, this further confirms all the polling that shows when people know someone gay, it makes them more likely to be supportive of issues like marriage equality. Frankly, I don’t think Dick with be with us absent that. But, he is — and here’s the video. Cheney almost sounds human: