Many bloggers, including this one, have written about the legacy of the outgoing President and Vice President. As one of the leading gay conservative blogs, it falls on us to address the legacy of the outgoing Vice-President’s lesbian daughter, Mary.
Since most gay leaders are of the liberal persuasion and believe the (R) after a politician’s name renders him or her repugnant, few will take the time to praise the Vice President or his daughter. Yet, each has contributed significantly to improving the image of gay people in America. Mary lives happily with her partner Heather Poe, and their son Sam, all of whom have been accepted into the Vice President’s family and featured together at public events.
Yet, gay rights’ groups won’t give this impressive young lady much credit. They wanted her to use her prominence as a politician’s daughter to become a professional activist. But, that’s not the kind of person Mary is. She is not an activist, not wishing to be an outspoken public advocate for any cause.
Simply by being herself and eschewing activism, however, she has done more than many activists have done to undermine anti-gay animus in America. In the public eye by dint of her Dad, she has carried herself with class and thus put forward a positive image of a gay person leading an ordinary life (in, until today, extraordinary circumstance). Many social conservatives admire her father. As they see how she carries herself and how he treats her and her partner, they may well reconsider any prejudices they harbor against gay people.
Having met Mary, I sense that on a personal level, she’ll appreciate her Dad’s departure from the public stage. She’ll be less in the spotlight and will have more time to spend with parents whom she loves and who love her, more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with her family. And that, I believe, is where her true passion lies.
Her legacy is this: as the first openly gay child of a President or Vice President, she has showed us how such an individual should conduct herself when her father is in office. And her father has shown us how a parent should treat such a gay child. Gay people now know that a prominent Republican can love and accept a gay child without compromising his conservative principles. And so do Republicans.
That’s a lot for one person to accomplish. So, thank you, Mary Cheney. And thank you, Mr. Vice President. You’ve made it a lot easier for a gay person to be open about his sexuality, especially in Republican circles.