Sunday, February 22, 2004

Putting Up with Dick when You Don't Like It, a website established to fight the amendment of the United States Constitution in regards to gay marriage, has set up a sister site, This website seeks to call Mary Cheney, out lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, to activist service in the ranks of amendment opposers. A similar website and movement was very successful a few years ago with, which managed to finally help in the removal of the notorious Dr. Laura's television show.

Mary Cheney has been under heavy fire recently from many gay activists. Gay journalist Michelangelo Signorile recently wrote a scathing article calling Mary on her invisibility and inactivity at this turbulent time for gay rights. He's not the only one questioning her absence, and now this website has emerged, promoted with a rather humorous graphic of Mary's face on a milk carton. Perhaps the most shocking part of this whole affair, however is, as one friend commented, Mary's tragic hair.

I am no apologist for Mary Cheney. I believe she could be doing a world of good by publicly supporting gay marriage and opposing amendments to any constitution, federal or state. Mary could make a decided impact in this whole issue. By remaining quiet on this issue, choosing instead to quietly run her father's campaign, she chips away at her own soul and smashes her self-dignity.

Despite my belief that Mary should be on the front lines with other gay activists, I am ashamed of these tactics and villifying columns. We need to act better than the opposition, and quite frankly, we are have sunk past the gutter to Karl Rove levels. Now, that should scare you.

In his article Signorile writes: "So let’s get to the point: What the hell happened to you? Are you just another spoiled rich brat—the lesbian Paris Hilton—worried about getting a chunk of those 30 million Halliburton bucks should Dad’s heart conk out?"

While I understand Signorile's frustration (I feel it too), this is nothing more than an ad hominem attack. We can call Mary to action without resorting to being children in a school-yard. And while Mary's hair on the milk carton is tacky, it is no moreso than the carton itself. The campaign could have been launched without being so abrasive.

Perhaps more disturbing to me than Mary's absence is all this energy being directed towards bringing her forward. The Dearmary website is asking for donations in order to print full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post. These ads cost around $55,000. Why gather this amount of resources to attract the attention of somebody who undoubtably could be a dynamic spokesperson, but who has no real governmental authority. Ultimately, Mary Cheney holds no office and wields no power to make change.

An implied understanding seems to be that Mary has not discussed these issues with her father. We simply don't know and ultimately it doesn't matter. The Vice President just a few years ago stated his position that the federal government should not be involved in this issue, which he has now retracted by supporting the President's threats to back a constitutional amendment. Clearly, Dick Cheney held (and I believe still holds) a belief that would give his daughter some rights, but has compromised himself and his love for his daughter by advocating the President's discriminatory stance. I doubt a public statement from Mary would impact the Vice President's stance the slightest.

Out politicians (Barney Frank) and relatives of politicians (Candace Gingrich) have been outspoken on issues of our community. And we see the impact those with power and those close to power have made. Not a criticism of these individuals, they can only do so much without a wider base of support. We would be better focusing our attention on winning the support of individuals with real power who would support us. We should be focusing on the American public and demonstrating that Rome did not fall because of too many bridal registrations at Pottery Barn.

Supposedly Mary Cheney helped convince some of the gay public to vote for her dad and George W. during the 2000 election with promises of moderation and compassion towards our community from these seemingly hard-line conservatives. And, so apparently, this vitriolic response is anger re-directed at Mary from that false hope. The only people these activists should be angry at are themselves for believing that promise in the first place.

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