Late last week Mary Cheney married her long-time partner Heather Poe. They tied the knot in Washington, D.C., even though they don't live there. Their state, Virginia, is dominated by anti-gay Republicans of the kind Mary Cheney has donated money to. Those politicians have made Virginia a very hostile place to even live peacefully if you're gay (that is, if you're not enormously privileged, like Mary Cheney), let alone get married.
So, Mary Cheney is happy to help elect anti-gay Republicans who make life miserable for gays. But wherever such Republicans are not elected and gay-friendly Democrats get in, she's happy to swoop in and enjoy the rights won by gay activists.
Is there even a word to truly describe this kind of thing?
Dick and Lynne Cheney put out a statement supporting their daughter, even though Cheney was vice president under a president who wanted to make gays second-class citizens in the U.S. Constitution by pushing a federal marriage amendment. You might say, "That was then," but Dick Cheney recently endorsed Mitt Romney, who supports the same amendment.
Mary, too, worked for the Bush campaign in 2004, and she also contributed $1,000 to the Senate campaign of Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who, as a House member, voted to ban gays from adopting in the District of Columbia and voted for a federal marriage amendment. Portman is now being discussed as a potential running mate for Romney. Mary Cheney hasn't endorsed Romney yet, but is there any reason why we should believe she won't endorse him and also give him money?
Mary Cheney's actions are in line with the gay group GOProud, which recently endorsed Romney. Dan Savage called them "house faggots," while Michael Musto called them "Jewish Nazis," "black Klan members," and "roaches who moonlight as exterminators." Both Savage and Musto incurred the wrath of GOProud, which decried the name calling but then shot back with their own names (Musto was called a "human Muppet" by GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia). Savage came back with a new word, comparing GOProud to meth addicts, driven by self-loathing.
I must say that "roaches who moonlight as exterminators" is pretty clever. But I'm still not sure any of these terms quite captures what exactly motivates Mary Cheney and GOProud. It's one thing to work within the Republican Party to change it, and I've often supported the work of groups like the Log Cabin Republicans in doing so. But to actually endorse a candidate who calls for stripping you of rights seems totally crazy and pathological -- unless perhaps you don't believe the candidate will ever do such a thing. And that is actually what gay Republicans who are voting for Romney will tell you privately. In fact, several such gay Republicans who are listeners to my show have called in to say as much.
Now, whether or not Romney would really push for a federal marriage amendment, his speaking out in favor of it is damaging simply because he emboldens anti-gay forces and helps to inject hate into the political discourse. So, no, I don't believe it's an excuse to vote for him just because you believe he's stringing the Christian right along, telling them he'll push for a constitutional ban on gay marriage even though he will drop it once elected. But it does explain why GOPers like the Cheney family, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, and others who publicly and proudly support marriage equality would still support Romney. They don't believe he's anti-gay. They actually believe he's the flip-flopper he's shown himself to be, and in this case they see that as an asset. Or, to be more honest, they believe he's a liar.