June 1st, 2009
Speaking at the National Press Club, former Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated his support for gay marriage at a journalism awards ceremony.
Despite expressing support for gay marriage, Dick Cheney said he opposes federal recognition of gay marriage. It is an issue that he believes should be “regulated … at the state level.”
This is essentially a federalist argument—and a seeming compromise.
But there is an inherent contraction in Cheney’s gay rights position: he supports [CORRECTED: does not openly oppose] the “Defense of Marriage Act,” which precludes the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in individual states. Before DoMA, federal recognition of marriages relied almost exclusively on the states, but this power was wrested from the states by the federal government in 1996, an inherently anti-federalist usurpation of state power.
(In fact, this is the central issue in a recent GLAD suit, filed in Boston, that challenges DoMA. GLAD is arguing that DoMA infringes on Constitutionally protected state sovereignty.)
For one to support gay marriage on a state-by-state basis—based on an appeal to federalism—and also support DoMA is unprincipled. Cheney’s silence on DoMA might be a pragmatic decision, a way of avoiding a national confrontation over gay rights. Maybe some of the inconsistency is a natural product of trying to reconcile his membership in one of the most virulently anti-gay administrations in recent memory while at the same time wanting, as parents do, for his children to be happy.
This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
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On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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