I watched the interview on June 3, 2009 of Former Vice President Dick Cheney along with his daughter, Liz, on On The Record With Greta Van Susteren and I knew what he was going to say before he said it. I knew his positions and criticism of President Obama on foreign policy, water boarding, keeping the country safe etc. etc. Blah, blah, blah I thought.
Then Greta asked two very interesting questions: What do you admire about Obama and where do you stand on gay marriage? To the first he said he thought he ran an impressive campaign. What a relief to hear him say something nice about the President! To the second when pressed by Greta asking "how would you vote on it?" he shocked me with his response. He said he was for equality for everyone and that his daughter, Mary, is in a very commendable relationship with somebody she's known for a long time and he is strongly supportive of that.
I was floored! It's the first time I have seen Dick Cheney as a caring human being. I was seeing a different side of him: a softer, gentler side. It reminded me of the time I came out as a lesbian to my then 85 year old great aunt. We had been close yet I knew she was anti-gay from our conversations. For years I bit my tongue. Finally, one day at the kitchen table I told her I was gay. She was surprised but still loved and accepted me. In fact, we became closer because I was no longer hiding anything from her.
These are both examples of "love conquering all." Personal experience trumps political punditry every time. When I came out of the closet in 1980 in California, a gay friend wore a button that read "We Are Everywhere." That has never been more true than today. We gays are born to conservative and liberal families. We are from all races, ethnic groups, religions, and creeds. We are doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians, police officers, artists, musicians, actors, athletes, writers, and soldiers as well as hairdressers and fashion designers. And we are not going away nor will we be "straightened out."
The media on the left and the right seem to have given Cheney's revelation little press. My only guess is that the left prefer Cheney to have a "scary" image (as Wanda Sykes expressed in her speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in May. Being an out lesbian, I wonder what Ms. Sykes thinks of Mr. Cheney's views on gay marriage. Talk about strange bedfellows!) The right leaning press (Fox News and talk radio) as far as I can tell have pretty much ignored the subject. They may still be in shock or they don't want this to invalidate the former VP's attacks on President Obama.
I believe Mr. Cheney's comments are a seismic shift in the struggle for gay equality. A former Vice President who is emerging as the primary voice in the GOP, a party dependent on the support of right wing Christians, has said he is for gay marriage. It gives me hope. If he can see that being gay is not a sin, maybe others will follow suit.
The day is coming: not just when gay marriage will be accepted by the nation, but a day when being gay will be considered a blessing, not a curse.
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