A Letter About Lynn

A letter I sent to some media outlets today about Lynne Cheney.

Lynne Cheney’s indignant response to John Kerry’s mention of her lesbian daughter — Mary — comes off as an act, to me. Where was Lynne Cheney’s outrage when Ohio Republican senate candidate Alan Keyes referred to her daughter as “a selfish hedonist”? We heard not a word from the Cheney’s when that happened. Where is Lynne Cheney’s indignance when members of her party verbally gay bash and use gay and lesbian families as a wedge issue to gain political power (not to mention fundraising)?

Neither John Kerry nor John Edwards insulted Mary Cheney. Neither made any derogatory reference to her. Both simply stated what is already a known fact: that Mary Cheney is a lesbian. Mary herself has made it no secret. In fact, being a lesbian has been central to her career, from her work with the Coors company to her role as a spokesperson for the Republican Unity Coalition which formed after Bush’s inauguration and sought to make sexual orientation “a non-issue” in the Republican party. Since stepping down from that position Mary Cheney has taken a job with the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, earning a six figure salary. Put plainly, Mary Cheney is not exactly a private citizen. As she has made her sexual orientation a central part of her public and professional life, it’s hypocritical to expect no one else to mention or address it. It’s called wanting to have it both ways.

As a gay man whose parents are still alive, there’s something just beneath the surface of Lynne Cheney’s remarks, and the Cheney’s willingness to stand by a party that degrades a group their daughter is part of, and their willingness to stand by a president who would use the constitution to make their daughter a second class citizen. Lynne Cheney’s reaction, suggests that she thinks mentioning her daughter’s sexual orientation is somehow an insult rather than a simple statement of facts. The reality is that Lynne Cheney is, on some deep level, ashamed of her lesbian daughter and that is sad. It’s sad not just for Mr. and Mrs. Cheney, but also for Mary.

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8 Responses to A Letter About Lynn

  1. Tom says:

    What you may have missed is that Kerry’s campaign chairperson said that Mary Cheney was “fair game” after the debate. Unfortunately, Kerry’s staff has opened up the whole thing to be an issue.

    Alan Keyes is a blowhard non-entity on the 2004 political scene. It would make sense for the Cheneys not to publicly complain about his remarks and thus give them more attention. If Bush-Cheney is reelected, Keyes’ political opportunities might find obstacles for the next four years.

  2. lane says:

    i think it’s a great letter, Terrance. Let’s us know if anyone runs it.

  3. Fool says:


    But don’t your comments tend to prove T.’s point. If calling her daughter “a selfish hedonist” doesn’t merit any “outrage,” why should Kerry’s comments? If your rationale is correct, then the Cheney’s “outrage” is just more political pandering because Keyes is a nobody and Kerry is a somebody.

    I just can’t equate the selection of the moment to complain based on the speaker with sincere affront. So, for me, your point only reinforces T.’s position.

  4. Ben Khan says:

    I think the problem arose because Kerry said it in a way that linked the political family with a gay person. In all the discussions (about Mary) from the Cheneys it has always been as a family, not as a political unit. Alan Keyes’ remarks (unlike Kerry’s)didn’t address Mary by name so there isn’t any outrage from the family (besides Mary would retain any rights and be exempt by virtue of being a Cheney).

    The Republican convention puts it into perspective. Weren’t there pictures of the Cheney family on stage while Mary sat in the dark? See Political Family = Not Gay. Regular Family = gay person.

    It’s not having it both ways, it’s just wearing two different hats. Don’t be too upset if you can’t tell when what hat’s on; at the VP debate when Edwards mentions the “gay daughter” Cheney slipped on the “family” hat not the political unit one (hence no response). It’s just my take.

  5. Tom says:


    I think that it became known that Mary was off limits for political discussion. The fact that Mary did not go onstage at the Republican convention confirmed this. For me, it makes sense for the Cheneys not to mention Keyes’ comments publicly; Keyes is polling at 17% for Illinois senator; he’s a blowhard that merits little attention.

    Sure, the Cheneys’ conspicuous outrage is done for their political benefit. But this is one stupid (and politically costly) mess that is the fault of Kerry and his staff.

    I know this isn’t an equivalent construction, but consider this: If Edwards’ daughter was known to be a lesbian and was private about it, and both Cheney and Bush had managed, somehow, to mention her by name and sexual orientation in the debates, do you think there wouldn’t be a big to-do about it?

    Of course there would be a big blowup. Kerry-Edwards would claim that the Republicans were pandering. And the reason for the blowup would be because Kerry-Edwards *could* act offended for their own political advantage.

    This is the political silly season. The Rove style is used by both sides by their pols, spinners, cable TV allies, bloggers — the whole gamet.

    — Tom

  6. Tom says:

    Here is some proof today that the Kerry team can give low blows with the best/worst of ’em. Kerry says that Bush will bring back the draft. Of course, Kerry knows that he is himself lying. This is just an effort to scare voters.

    Kerry knows that he is himself lying because he knows that congress would have to reinstate the draft, and that will not happen because the opposition to the draft is fierce. Shame of Kerry for acting like Bush. But greater shame on voters for being suseptable to these political tricks.

    Democracy sure is a lousy system. Whatever happened to the idea of Philosopher Kings?

  7. Tom says:

    Ooop. I’m informed by a highly authoritative source that the “Bush’ll bring back the draft” comment was from Rock the Vote and not the Kerry campaign.

    Mea culpa. As Rosanne Rosanadana (I think it was; anyway, some Gilda Radner SNL character) used to say, “NEVER MIND.”

    — Tom

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