Righties tell the Cheneys Mary can be cured

Published October 26, 2004 7:57PM (EDT)

We're sure that Republicans will be shocked and appalled to learn that Mary Cheney is once again being dragged forward to make a partisan political point about homosexuality. Today, Concerned Women for America, the veteran right-wing organization founded by Beverly LaHaye, released "About Mary: An Open Letter to Dick and Lynn Cheney." Under the guise of praising the Vice President's daughter -- "Mary is, I'm sure, a fine young woman with many wonderful qualities," it says -- the missive actually uses her to make an argument about whether or not homosexuality is a choice.

Authored by Regina Griggs, executive director of a group called PFOX, or Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, the letter nods to the Cheney's paternal love, saying, "As parents, we can and do love our children unconditionally no matter who they are attracted to. Loving unconditionally allows us the freedom to maintain our values and viewpoints while keeping a bridge open to our children." But loving isn't the same as accepting. "Homosexual activists like those working on the Kerry-Edwards team want 'gay marriage' and civil unions in order to gain public affirmation," it says. "They think this will make them happy. Happiness requires hope, and real hope is the knowledge that many men and women overcome unwanted same-sex attractions every year, even those who believed at one time that they were born that way and had no choice." When Kerry mentioned Mary -- far more sympathetically -- her mother blasted it as "a cheap and tawdry trick," William Safire wrote an outraged column entitled "The Lowest Blow," and William Kristol vituperated against the Democratic nominee's "cheap, cold, calculating cynicism--and cruelty."

Granted, Concerned Women for America doesn't have anything near the same platform or responsibilities as a presidential candidate. But it is influential. One of its major figures is former Bush senior speechwriter Janice Shaw Crouse, who consults with the second Bush administration on UN family planning issues. If CWFA is just a fringe outfit that no one should pay attention to, we urge Republicans to say so. Otherwise, we eagerly await demands that the group apologize for once again pulling Mary from her non-existent closet.

By Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a frequent contributor to Salon and the author of "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" (WW Norton).

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