Labor Pains

Mary Cheney's baby faces hostile state

It’s sort of official: Mary Cheney, the vice president’s lesbian daughter, and partner Heather Poe are going to have a baby. In Virginia.

The pregnancy, dubbed ”super-secret” by the Washington Post‘s ”Reliable Source,” comes on the heels of passage of Ballot Question No. 1, which makes Virginia one of the most oppressive places in the country to be a same-sex couple — much less a same-sex couple having a baby. This far-reaching law prohibits any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Forget marriage — gay couples in Virginia could rightfully be left wondering if they can open joint-checking accounts.

Although Vice President Dick Cheney’s office will confirm Mary’s pregnancy, it will not forward messages to the couple. Simon & Schuster, publisher of Mary’s autobiography, Now It’s My Turn, did not respond to a request to forward a query to the couple. But others are more willing to talk about the issues raised by same-sex parenting in the commonwealth.

”As Mary and Heather enter into the life-changing roles of parents, they will quickly face the reality that no matter how loved their child will be,… he or she will never have the same protections that other children born to heterosexual couples enjoy,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of D.C.-based Family Pride, in a Dec. 6 statement. ”Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child.”

Kelly Young of Ballston, founder and chair of To Keep Us Safe, a Web-based effort that fought to keep Ballot Question No. 1 from becoming a reality, offered a gay Virginian’s perspective:

”Virginia residents planning to have families will have to look seriously at leaving the state or taking on significant legal uncertainty. …

”This baby will literally put a new, albeit little, face on Virginia’s ugly discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. This child’s future is what proponents of the recent constitutional amendment spit on when they proposed, campaigned for, and unfortunately passed Ballot Question No. 1.”

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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