It is no secret that I have long been a fan of Mary Cheney. If she had her druthers, she never would have chosen to be a public figure, but when submitted to the limelight, she has shone, in her own subdued way — and has served as a great role model for gay men and lesbians.
And she helped us see the worth of her much (and unfairly) maligned father, a strong conservative whose first response to learning about his younger daughter’s sexuality was to tell her that he loved her. When Hugh Hewitt had her on her show six years ago, she afforded Hugh’s listeners, many of them social conservatives, an opportunity to hear just a normal a lesbian was. And how such a woman could be conservative.
It’s clear from talking to her about — and seeing her in public with — Heather Poe just how much she loves her wife. Just by being herself and by being open about her relationship, she has become a role model.
She may even have changed a few minds on gay marriage. Last week, when blogging about Mary’s wedding, my friend John Hinderaker, friendly to gay people, yet opposed to gay marriage, indicated that he might be changing his views:
Mary Cheney doesn’t know me from Adam, but in 2000, during Dick Cheney’s first vice-presidential campaign, I encountered her on the campaign trail and was deeply impressed by the devotion to her father that she showed. I wrote about it here.
So I’ve been reconsidering my stance on gay marriage, and I’m thinking maybe a more nuanced position is appropriate: like, I’m in favor of gay marriage, but only for conservatives. At the moment, anyway, it strikes me as a principled distinction.
Mary Cheney is doing a world of good for the image of gay people in conservative circles, often countering, just by being herself, negative images created by many who have been far more active on behalf of gay causes.