Feature

Mary Cheney

The politics of a pregnancy.

Pregnancy can be a time of great anxiety in a woman's life, said Louis Bayard in Salon.com. It must be even more trying, though, when the mom-to-be is the lesbian daughter of a "right-wing zealot." Just ask Mary Cheney, 37, the vice president's daughter, who announced last week that she and partner Heather Poe, 45, are expecting a child. Cheney's father has always accepted her, but the Republican Party's social conservative base has regarded her with cringing embarrassment. Now that she and her girlfriend are having a baby, that base is turning on her with a vengeance. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America called Cheney's decision to have a baby "unconscionable," while Robert Knight of the Media Research Institute accused her of promoting a "culture of sexual anarchy."

Liberals may find this issue funny, said Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson in Time, but fatherless children are no laughing matter. Thirty years of social science research has shown that without a parent of each gender, kids have a tough time figuring out their own identities. No insult to Mary Cheney, but deliberately choosing to bring a child into the world without a father is both selfish and wrong. "Traditional marriage is God's design for the family," and its worth has been proven by more than 5,000 years of human experience. The desire of same-sex couples to have children does not justify our society's embarking on a "far-reaching social experiment" whose results won't be known for generations.

Old prejudices sure die hard, said Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post. But die they do, and Mary Cheney's pregnancy will "turn out to be a watershed in public understanding and acceptance" of gay parenting. She and Poe have been a couple for 15 years, and they're both committed and devoted to each other. Their child will be raised in a home with "two loving parents." Is that really a tragedy? The Cheneys certainly don't need any lectures about the importance of the family, said the Houston Chronicle in an editorial. When the 16-year-old Mary told her father she was a lesbian, he replied, "You're my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy." And when she announced she was pregnant, the vice president and his wife simply said they were looking forward to having their sixth grandchild. This, quite obviously, is a family in which love trumps politics, trumps sexual orientation, trumps everything

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