A primary day distraction

By Geraldine Sealey
Published March 2, 2004 11:08PM (EST)

Bush-Cheney '04 brings you a little sideshow for Super Tuesday -- Dick Cheney himself, emerging to give a trio of interviews on cable TV. On MSNBC, Cheney made news by saying he supports the president's push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. During the last presidential campaign, Cheney said it wasn't a federal matter.

"The fact of the matter is, we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody," Cheney said during the vice presidential debate in 2000. "And I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It's really no one else's business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard. The next step, then ... is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction, if you will, of the relationship. That matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy."

On MSNBC today, Cheney's support of the gay marriage ban wasn't exactly gushing. "Well, the President's taken the clear position that he supports a constitutional amendment ... He's made clear what the administration position is, and I support him," he said. But Cheney's clearly standing behind Bush. As for his openly gay daughter, he didn't want to talk about it. "One of the most unpleasant aspects of this business is the extent of which private lives are intruded upon when these kinds of issues come up," Cheney told MSNBC. "I really have always considered my private -- my daughters' lives private and I think that's the way it ought to remain."

Mary Cheney is the subject of a Dear Mary campaign by gay activists who want the prominent gay Republican to go public with her views on her father's stance on same-sex marriage.

In other news, Cheney also insists he'll be on Bush's ticket in the fall, even though others have speculated he'd be dropped. The AP points out that Cheney's popularity with the public has sunk recently, and the biggest drop was among Republicans. Seventy-four percent of Republicans saw him favorably in October and 58 percent viewed him that way in late February.

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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