Liz Cheney's phony, opportunistic switch on same-sex marriage
What has she done to protect LGBTQ rights since this supposed flip? Like the Trump loyalists in the GOP, absolutely nothing.
If you’ve been enjoying The Signorile Report, consider becoming a paid subscriber and supporting independent, ad-free opinion journalism. Thanks!
Last weekend GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney told “60 Minutes” that she’d changed her position on same-sex marriage. This comes at the same time that Cheney, co-hair of the select committee investigating January 6th, has set herself up as the Anti-Trump in the GOP, proudly wearing her vote to impeach Trump as a badge of honor.
“I was wrong. I was wrong,” Cheney said, and then referred to her sister Mary, a lesbian who is married to a woman, and her father, former vice president Dick Cheney. “I love my sister very much. I love her family very much, and I was wrong. It's a very personal issue and very personal for my family. I believe that my dad was right, and my sister and I have had that conversation.”
Cheney also said, referring to transgender people: “We need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state."
There’s a lot of revisionist history here, in addition to grade-A hypocrisy and cheap rhetoric.
Let’s begin with the laughable insinuation that Dick Cheney was some sort of champion of gay marriage. The president he served, George W. Bush, bowing to evangelical conservatives, promoted a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality as he ramped up his then-sagging bid to be re-elected, running on making gay and lesbian people into second class citizens in the Constitution — all to get the evangelical haters excited to vote.
Dick Cheney didn’t try to stop Bush — nor did he resign in protest of the attack on his own family.
Cheney did defend his daughter and gay relationships in 2004, saying “freedom means freedom for everyone.” That, however, actually helped Bush in the presidential campaign by promoting the idea that the ticket had “diverse” opinions on the subject.
And Cheney actually promoted the idea that the federal courts were overstepping and that marriage should be left to “the states” — which is exactly what the far right is now demanding in calling for the landmark Obergefell marriage equality decision to be overturned — defending Bush’s position by stating: “I think [the president’s] perception was that the courts, in effect, were beginning to change, without allowing the people to be involved. The courts were making the judgment for the entire country.”
Cheney also publicly defended Liz Cheney when Mary fired back at Liz on Facebook in 2013, after Liz, running for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, publicly rebuked her own sister’s marriage while trying to court the religious right.
"We were surprised that there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook, and wished it hadn't happened," Dick Cheney said at the National Press Club, throwing his daughter Mary over to the haters while defending his older daughter’s denunciation of her.
Hardly a paragon of justice and equality.
Now on to Liz Cheney, who told “60 Minutes” she’s now had a conversion. It’s not a bad thing to change, of course. We want people to change, and they should be patted on the back when they do so. Certainly that was the case with many Democrats, including President Obama. But they didn’t just talk the talk.
Obama, in his first term, opposed marriage equality and his administration initially defended the odious Defense of Marriage Act in court — until activists showed how horrendous this was. To his credit, Obama changed course and did the right thing, dropping that defense and standing up for equality. He joined in the effort to successfully have the law thrown out by the Supreme Court.
Obama famously “evolved,” and eventually became a champion of gay marriage, campaigning for measures legalizing same-sex marriage and against ballot measures banning it. He urged the Supreme Court to rule that marriage for gay and lesbian couples is a constitutional right — as it did — and he did what he could as president to ban discrimination for LGBTQ adults and students. He also urged Congress to write such protections into law.
And what has Liz Cheney done?
Nothing but thwart LGBTQ rights. If her sister Mary lived in their home state of Wyoming (she doesn’t, opting for more gay-friendly Virginia), Mary and her wife could be thrown out of an apartment by a landlord opposed to their marriage, as there are no protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It’s why we need the Equality Act passed at the federal level, protecting LGBTQ people in housing, employment, public accommodations, and lending.
But Liz Cheney voted against the Equality Act earlier this year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also voted against the Equality Act, as did Georgia’s QAnon cultist Majorie Taylor Greene, accused sex trafficker Matt Gaetz of Florida, Arizona’s white supremacist sympathizer Paul Gosar, and all of the other Trump loyalists in the House. In fact, only three Republicans in the House voted for the bill. Liz Cheney stood squarely with the extremists, who dominate the party.
So as Liz Cheney now attempts to show a clear difference between herself and the MAGA mob in the House, it’s important to underscore where she’s not breaking with them. She can say she supports marriage equality and doesn’t want to discriminate against transgender people. But words have no meaning if she doesn’t stand up and defend her own sister when it counts, using her vote.
Thanks for reading and following The Signorile Report. Most of it is free to read, but if you’d like to support independent, ad-free opinion journalism (and connect in great discussion threads), please consider becoming a paid subscriber.