Mary Cheney, Partner Welcome Second Child
Mary Cheney and her partner Heather Poe welcomed their second child, daughter Sarah Lynne Cheney, on Nov. 18. Cheney and Poe and their children, including firstborn child Samuel, are one of the nation’s highest profile same-sex families due to Cheney being the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney’s pregnancy became publicly known in October; Sarah Lynne is the seventh grandchild of Dick and Lynne Cheney.
Despite Dick Cheney having been part of what gay and lesbian equality leaders view as the most anti-gay administration in recent history, when it comes to same-sex families and Mary Cheney’s domestic arrangements, the former Vice President has expressed acceptance and protectiveness. In the 2004 presidential campaign, Cheney lashed out when Democratic candidate John Kerry referenced Mary Cheney’s sexuality.
During the 2004 campaign and again in 2009, Dick Cheney publicly declared support for gay and lesbian unions, and said that the matter of full marriage equality should be left to the discretion of individual states. Although Cheney’s statements on the two occasions were similar, the 2009 statement earned him scathing rebukes from some extreme-right religious and social conservatives.
Last June, in a address to the National Press Club, the former vice president said, "As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay, and it’s something that we’ve lived with for a long time in our family." Added Mr. Cheney, "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish."
One anti-gay pundit described those words as promting "sexual anarchy." Stated the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, "If freedom to marry means, as he said, that people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, well then, he’s virtually endorsing polyamory and polygamy, and incestuous marriage, and bestiality."
The 2006 birth of Cheney and Poe’s firstborn, son Samuel David Cheney, also drew its share of condemnation from the religious right. James Dobson, founder of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, wrote an article for TIME Magazine in which Dobson reckoned that, "Two Mommies is One Too Many."
Dobson claimed in the article that, "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father.... That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child," Dobson continued. "But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy-any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl."