The Stalking of Mary Cheney

Got Mary?

This sarcastic question disgraces the front page of a website devoted to shaming Vice-President Dick Cheney’s openly lesbian daughter, Mary into publicly opposing an amendment to the constitution defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. The same people who brought you are at it again with their campaign to embarrass Mary Cheney into submission.

The modus operandi of this group headed by Robin Tyler and John Avarosis is to stalk their unlucky objects of wrath until they achieve their objectives. In this case, supporters are asked to send post cards to Ms. Cheney pleading with her to leave her political post in her father’s vice-presidential campaign and renounce support for the Bush-Cheney ticket. The suggested text of the proposal concludes with these words of persuasion concerning the marriage amendment proposal directed at Ms. Cheney: “Won’t you join us in publicly opposing this bigoted un-American proposal?” Nothing subtle about that.

The post card may be signed from “a concerned citizen.” The website also boasts some postcards from other even more concerned citizens who have personal love notes to share with Ms. Cheney. One such card reads: “Shame on you! Shame on you for turning your back on your community…and shame on your family for turning their backs on you. We need you. You may not need (us) your community at this time, but there will come a time when you will. Don’t be surprised when the gay community turns their backs on you.” Feel the love?

What can we make of this effort to divide the Cheneys? I could talk about the hypocrisy of activists who rant about tolerance on one hand and then publicly bully someone on the other. I could talk about how Ms. Cheney must feel love and acceptance from her allegedly homophobic, bigoted family. Apparently the Cheney family has made peace about the apparent conflict between one member’s personal choices and the conservative beliefs that seem to ground them. Isn’t this what families are supposed to do?

I think rather what I will pull over and park on is how this “Dear Mary” effort exposes the inability of many within the gay political lobbying groups to tolerate real diversity. Not all gays care that much about whether the nation bans gay marriage or not. Are they not worthy of respect? For instance, many gays in Europe who have the ability to be married do not do so. In fact, according to Peter Tatchell, British gay activist, only about 10% of gays in Denmark make vows.

Recently, from my website, I surveyed visitors concerning a variety of issues relating to gay marriage and believe it or not, the gay and lesbian identified respondents were divided on the issue of gay “marriage.” Twenty-three percent of those gays in a same sex relationship opposed the national legalization of gay “marriage.” Not a majority, to be sure, but a kind of silent minority suggesting that one may identify as gay but hold more politically conservative views concerning public marriage policy. These people are probably not writing letters to Mary Cheney.

I submit that the Cheneys are to be respected for their ability to accommodate differences that have divided many families and of late an entire society. From all public appearances, Ms. Cheney and her famous parents are very close. Got Mary? Perhaps Ms. Cheney is smart enough to see that the only reason her “community” wants her is to win political points by dividing her family. In this case, blood is thicker than rhetoric.