A public feud between sisters Liz and Mary Cheney which began last summer took a new confrontational turn over the weekend as Liz appeared on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace and restated her opposition to same-sex marriage.
Liz, who's moved from Virginia to Wyoming to run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Michael B. Enzi, 69, in a campaign marred by controversy, divisiveness and accusations of carpet-bagging, while costing the Cheneys old-time friendships like that of former Sen. Alan Simpson, has not spoken with her sister, an avowed lesbian, in several months.
After viewing the Fox interview, both Mary and wife Heather Poe responded through social media to Liz's statement that same-sex marriage is "just an area where we disagree."
On Facebook Mary wrote: "Liz, this isn't just an issue on which we disagree... you're just wrong... and on the wrong side of history."
And then Poe posted: "I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protecting one but not the other. Yes Liz, in 15 states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law."
Liz responded in an email to reporters: "I love my sister and her family and always try to be compassionate towards that. I believe that is the Christian way to behave."
That is of course if by "Christian way" she's referring to denying someone the freedom of choice and the right to love and marry whomever they wish.
Liz is reportedly angry that Mary's publicly aired their dirty laundry, charging her with hypocrisy because she had supported the reelection campaign of George W. Bush, who opposed gay marriage and supported a constitutional amendment banning it.
But Mary Cheney is smart. She's taking a heated, emotional family rift which her sister wishes would remain private and thrusting it squarely into the nation's consciousness. She's casting a critical light on the narrow-mindedness, ignorance and intolerance that fuels that fight against same-sex marriage, forcing Liz to slam her homophobic stake into the ground, telling her 'You've made your bed now sleep in it.' And at the risk of derailing Liz's already-contentious Senate campaign, she's forcing her sister to woman-up to her public Tea Party pandering while suggesting her private views are much more liberal.
One can't help feel some measure of satisfaction in watching the Cheneys eat their own. To paraphrase Mary, this is a staunchly conservative family that many believe has been on the "wrong side of history" more than once. It is a family whose positions, for the most part, at their core deny Americans the kind of personal freedoms that Mary now fights for.
But Mary is in some way complicit in this war against gay rights and must take some responsibility for the homophobia that persists among conservatives. Mary's past support of people like Bush, who seek to legislate against her personal and sexual freedom, is indeed hypocritical. She did not have to help the anti-gay crowd gain even more power and influence. Other political scions like Ron Reagan Jr. have broken ranks with their conservative families rather than engage in such moral dishonesty.
To be sure, the Cheneys are now experiencing what millions of average American families continue to experience in the face of discrimination and prejudice. Maybe "The Real Cheneys of Wyoming" family drama is a lesson to be learned not just for them, but for the millions of Republicans who wish to keep America stuck in the 1950's. What goes around comes around...