Former Vice President Dick Cheney has expressed his delight that his lesbian daughter Mary married her longtime partner Heather Poe on Friday.
“Mary and Heather have been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have that relationship recognized,” Cheney and his wife, Lynne, said in a statement.
|Mary Cheney (right) attended a 9/11 memorial on the South Lawn of the White House with Heather Poe in 2006 (AP Photo)
The wedding came amid intense debate over gay marriage. President Barack Obama recently announced his support, while presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney opposes same-sex unions.
Cheney and Poe were married in Washington D.C., where gay marriage has been legal since 2010. They married 20 years to the day after their first date. The couple has a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.
“Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness,” the Cheney family statement added.
Mary Cheney, 43, confirmed the news on her Facebook page on Friday, People magazine reported. “Very happy to announce that as of this morning, Heather and I are legally married (at least in DC).”
Mary's lesbianism became a diversion during the 2004 vice presidential debate when moderator Gwen Ifill raised the issue. Democrat John Edwards called it "a wonderful thing" that Cheney supported his gay daughter, and Cheney tersely thanked him but would say nothing else about the issue. He pointed out that President George W. Bush “sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.”
While vice-president, Cheney said he believes U.S. states should decide on legalizing same-sex marriage, though he backed then-president George W. Bush’s efforts to establish a constitutional ban on gay marriages. Since leaving office in 2009 he has changed his stance and now opposes a federal ban on gay marriages.
Besides the District of Columbia, six states have legalized gay marriage. They are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
In February 2010 Cheney said it was “time to reconsider” the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military.
Last year, President Obama pushed through a repeal of the 1993 law known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” which required gay and lesbian troops to not disclose their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the force.
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