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Mary Cheney

From Academic Kids

Mary Cheney (born 1968) is the daughter of Dick Cheney, the Vice President of the United States, and his wife, Lynne Cheney.

Family, education and career

Cheney graduated in 1991 from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado and earned a graduate business degree from the University of Denver in 2002. In 1993, she became one of the first employees of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, working in promotions when the team began playing in Denver. Thereafter she was a public relations manager for the Coors Brewing Company and worked as a gay and lesbian outreach coordinator, helping to end a national gay boycott of Coors. She lives in Conifer, Colorado with her partner Heather Poe, a Colorado state park manager.

Cheney is one of her father's top campaign aides and closest confidantes. In July 2003 she became the director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential re-election campaign.

Mary Cheney's sister, Elizabeth is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

Attention to Cheney's sexuality

Mary Cheney's sexual orientation as a lesbian has become a source of increasing public attention because of her political involvement and because of the burgeoning same-sex marriage debate.

In 2000, the Bush-Cheney campaign freely discussed Elizabeth Cheney's marriage and children, but treated Mary Cheney's private life as off-limits. [1] (http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/time/2000/07/31/mary.html). Nevertheless, because her lesbianism was publicly known, it was seen as bolstering the image of the Republican ticket as "compassionate conservatives". [2] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4271472/)

In January 2001, she and her partner attended the inauguration of President Bush and her father.

In 2002, she joined the gay-friendly Republican Unity Coalition and said that sexual orientation should be "a non-issue for the Republican Party", with a goal of "equality for all gay and lesbian Americans." The next year, however, she resigned from the RUC's board and in July 2003 became the director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential re-election campaign.

In 2004, public attention refocused on Cheney's sexuality when the Bush administration supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Mary Cheney has never publicly stated whether she supports the amendment. Vice President Cheney, when asked during a campaign appearance about same-sex marriage, reiterated the position he took in the 2000 campaign, that the issue should be handled by the states. He added, though, that President Bush determined his administration's policies and his policy supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. [3] (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/24/cheney.samesex/)

The subject of Mary Cheney's sexuality arose again during the 2004 presidential election debates, when both presidential candidate John Kerry and vice presidential candidate John Edwards mentioned her lesbianism when questioned regarding homosexuality issues. At the end of the debate, Mary appeared on the podium with her partner and the rest of the family. During the third and final presidential debate, the debate moderator asked, "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?" John Kerry replied, "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as." This prompted an angry response from both Lynne and Dick Cheney. "You saw a man who will say and do anything to get elected," Vice President Cheney said at a campaign appearance in Florida the day after the debate. Some gays and lesbians claim there is an inherent hypocrisy of the Vice President and his wife's criticism and what gay activists see as the their willingness to exploit their daughter's sexuality when it proves beneficial to her father's campaign. John Edwards' wife Elizabeth Edwards speculated that the Cheneys were "ashamed" of their daughter.

Mary Cheney herself has been criticized by gay rights activists for continuing to run her father's campaign while not taking a public stand against the Bush administration's position on the Federal Marriage Amendment. One public campaign to generate letters and postcards to her, DearMary.com (http://www.dearmary.com), is the top Google result for her name, as the result of a Google bomb. "Dear Mary" also urged her to speak out against what the organization called the Bush campaign's "blatant gay-baiting", including the mass mailing by the Republican National Committee of a flier (http://www.steveclemons.com/GOPMailer.htm) charging that "Liberal politicians" wanted to ban the Bible while allowing same-sex marriages.

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