When he was Vice President, Dick Cheney never expressly advocated for marriage equality — despite his personal support for equality, and his lesbian daughter’s relationship and eventual marriage.
There were political calculations that led Cheney to keep his own support in check while VP, Cheney will explain in an interview with ABC News tonight. Because it would have been bad publicity for the President for whom he was serving, he says, he didn’t understand why he should have advocated for marriage equality:
The former vice president suggested it wouldn’t have done much good and probably would have sunk President George W. Bush’s prospects for office. “Why?” he responded to ABC News when asked in a televised interview whether he should have pushed harder for gay couples to marry.
Cheney’s daughter, Mary, married her longtime partner this June.
During his time running and as Vice President, Cheney always said that he personally believed that “freedom means freedom for everyone,” and supported passing marriage equality in the states. But he ran on a party platform that expressly advocated for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. Indeed, part of the party’s reelection strategy, spearheaded by Karl Rove in 2004, was to piggyback on the anti-gay ballot initiatives in 11 states.
For Cheney, the choice not to publicly support marriage equality may have been a cold political calculation. But for many couples who want the simple happiness of getting married, his question of “why” voice his support is obvious: To fight for equality.