A Shout Out for Dick Cheney!
You would be correct if you assumed that I have voted Democratic all my life. I found the eight years of George W. Bush a hard cross to bear and have had little good to say about former Vice President Dick Cheney. But he stopped me in my tracks by supporting same-sex marriage in his answer to a question at a National Press Club event last week. While I often feel myself to be in disagreement with Mr. Cheney, I must give him this well-deserved shout out for his endorsement of marriage between two men or two women.
“I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone,” Mr. Cheney said. “I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish.” Then he mentioned his daughter.
For many of us our acceptance of GLBT people begins when what was theoretical becomes personal: a dear loved one has the courage to come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Indeed, these conversations with people we care about are the only way I can see to get us across to the other side where so many of our children already are — a place where GLBT people are first and foremost people created good by God.
Dick Cheney may also display some wisdom in his preference for state-by-state consideration of same-sex marriage. He explains, “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.”
I take some pride in the Presbyterian Church that our polity of having presbyteries under the umbrella of the national church contributed to the founding fathers giving specific power to states. We might do well to draw upon the approach that Cheney supports here for same-sex marriage and let each presbytery find its way with regard to GLBT inclusion rather than imposing a rigid policy required of everyone in the church.
Dick Cheney reminds us that there are good reasons across the political spectrum for GLBT inclusion, from his libertarian and states’ rights perspective, to the reasons you hear from me like the need to embrace the good in all people and to acknowledge the qualities we all recognize as marriage in the loving relationships of GLBT people we know. That we can arrive at the same conclusion in our different ways is one of the signs for me of God’s hand at work in our present conversation about GLBT inclusion. Dick Cheney and me standing on common ground — now that has to be the moving of the Holy Spirit!
Account of Cheney’s comments: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/cheney-reasserts-stance-on-gay-marriages/