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September 2, 2004

The Other Side of the Coin

Earl Appleby has continued his convention coverage with daily posts related to the Republican national convention. Day 1 focused on the official convention bloggers, day 2 shifted toward the Catholic blogging world, and day 3 turns to face the DMC (dominant media culture).

Earl also has a post about the comments from Vice President Cheney regarding same-sex marriage. To be honest, I think the most concrete thing that can be said about those comments is that they've provided yet more evidence of news media bias. For example, the AP piece in the Boston Globe to which Earl links, "Cheney says he, Bush, at odds over same-sex marriage: Wants issue left up to each state rather than a new amendment," clearly plays up and exaggerates the explicitness of any disagreement. It needn't even be deliberate partisanship; for a class of people who believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is just veiled support for locking up homosexuals, a direct statement that, in the VP's words, people "ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to" does sound like a contradiction.

As the White House transcript shows, Cheney was at best ambiguous about where his opinion ends and the President's begins. Peculiarly, that transcript ends at about the most crucial part, but CNN provides the missing text:

Most states have addressed this. There is on the books the federal statute, Defensive Marriage Act passed in 1996. To date, it has not been successfully challenged in the courts and it may be sufficient to resolve the issue. But at this point my own preference is as I've stated but the president makes basic policy for this administration, and he's made it clear that he does, in fact, support a constitutional amendment on this issue.

Reading the preceding points, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a confident answer about what Cheney's specific policy "preference" would be. I, for one, have argued that the Federal Marriage Amendment is the best bet to grant the states — meaning their voters and elected representatives — the most room to maneuver. A particular stumble on Cheney's part — "And I don't think -- well, so far [the FMA] hasn't had the votes to pass." — is interesting, too.

Many people see Dick Cheney as a consummate politician, so I wouldn't discard the possibility that his spiel, which managed at the same time to illustrate a thorough knowledge of where the issue stands and to offer naught but innuendo for predictions and preferences, was designed to give some not-quite-lost gay Republican voters a tiny bit more room to come back into the fold.

That doesn't mean that we who oppose same-sex marriage oughtn't keep an eye on the VP. It could be that he's fallen victim to the principle that Ben Shapiro terms "blood is thicker than morality." Given his social class, it wouldn't surprise me if Dick Cheney actually did support same-sex marriage. Given his secure adherence to principles, it also wouldn't surprise me if he were the type of man who could tell his homosexual daughter that his love and support for her does not extend the support for the redefinition of a bedrock institution.

Posted by Justin Katz at September 2, 2004 1:27 AM

I for one am hoping that he can take the moral stand on this issue, if not in public at least in private with his daughter. I've had to do the same with my oldest son who threw off the Catholic faith we tried to impart and took up paganism.

Posted by: smmtheory at September 2, 2004 12:43 PM