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As ABC’s Jake Tapper reported earlier this afternoon, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, married her longtime partner, Heather Poe, today.
The couple are raising two children and live in Virginia, where the constitution was amended in 2006 to limit marriages to one man and one woman, but married today in DC, where marriage equality has been legal for more than two years.
In a statement provided to The Daily Caller, the former vice president and his wife, Lynne, said, “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. Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness.”
When the newlyweds return to Virginia, however, that relationship will not be recognized.
The Virginia Constitution states: “That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”
In addition to the fact that the Cheney-Poe relationship is not recognized in Virginia, the status of their children’s relationship with their parents in Virginia, which Lambda Legal states does not allow second-parent adoptions, is unclear. According to The Daily Caller, “Cheney gave birth to a son in 2007, and a daughter in 2009.”
Equality Virginia’s executive director, James Parrish, tells Metro Weekly, “Equality Virginia is happy that Mary Cheney and her long-time partner Heather Poe were able to marry in Washington DC. Unfortunately none of those relationships are legally recognized in Virginia because of the so-called marriage amendment. We will continue to work on the state and national level to achieve marriage equality for all.”
Equality Virginia details the complexities of family recognition for same-sex parents here.
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