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Cheney on Marriage Equality: “I Certainly Don’t Have Any Problem With It”

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In his continuing comments on marriage equality, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, were asked about the subject today on The View, with Dick Cheney beginning his answer by repeating a line that he’s used since the 2000 vice-presidential debate, saying, “Freedom means freedom for everybody.”

He then noted the state province on making marriage decisions, saying, “Different states are gonna come to different conclusions.”

Finally, as to his view, he said, “But, I certainly don’t have any problem with it.”

This looks to be a definitive statement that Cheney personally supports marriage equality — albeit framed in a somewhat awkward negative construction. It should be noted, though, that he was not asked — and made no comments — about whether he believes the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution requires marriage equality. 

Lynne Cheney had been asked by Barbara Walters, “You’re not against gay marriage?” — to which she replied she was not. The vice president then concurred before making his statement.

Dick Cheney has a long history of near-support on this issue, beginning in the 2000 vice-presidential debate, where he called a question about the topic “a tough one” and said:

The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. We shouldn’t be able to choose and say you get to live free and you don’t. That means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s no one’s business in terms of regulating behavior in that regard. The next step then, of course, is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction of the relationships or if they should be treated the same as a traditional marriage. That’s a tougher problem. That’s not a slam dunk.

The fact of the matter is that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that’s appropriate. I don’t think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area. I try to be open minded about it as much as I can and tolerant of those relationships. And like [Sen.] Joe [Lieberman (D-Conn.)], I’m also wrestling with the extent to which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.

Then, during the 2004 election, when several states had constitutional amendments on the ballot and President George W. Bush — his running mate — was supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment, he kept a similar line. According to the AP at the time:

At a campaign rally in this Mississippi River town, Cheney spoke supportively about gay relationships, saying “freedom means freedom for everyone,” when asked about his stand on gay marriage.

“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue our family is very familiar with,” Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. “With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone. … People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.

“The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that’s been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage,” he said.

Then, once out of office, he said at a National Press Club event in June 2009:

I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. And, as many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support.

I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. This has always been a state issue, and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that — and they do at present.

In that instance, it wasn’t clear if Cheney was voicing support for marriage equality at the time — although it was promoted by many as such at the time — or if he was voicing support for people having the “shot at” convincing their state to have marriage equality.

But, in today’s statement, it appears that Cheney’s personal view is as has been suspected for some time now: It’s not a problem with him.

Watch today’s video:

[H/T: Buzzfeed]

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