We'd love to be a fly on the wall at the Cheneys' this Thanksgiving. On Sunday, Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice president Dick, reignited a raging family feud when she declared on Fox News that she didn't believe in gay marriage. Sure, Dick Cheney and family are known for saying all manner of controversial things — but Mary Cheney, sister of Liz and daughter of Darth Vader, just so happens to be gay. Cue one very-public Facebook feud.
Here's how it started: Last year, Liz attended the wedding of Mary and her long-term partner, Heather Poe. "I love Mary very much," Liz, who is running for the Wyoming Senate, announced on Fox News Sunday. "I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree."
Later that day, Poe posted on Facebook:
I was watching my sister-in-law on Fox News Sunday (yes Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law) and was very disappointed to hear her say "I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage." Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 — she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.
Mary then chimed in, reposting Poe's comments and adding:
So where does Dick Cheney come into all of this? Cheney and his wife released a joint statement Monday on the very-public spat.
"This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public,” the couple said. “Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister's family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done."
The former vice president has spoken in favor of same-sex marriage as far back as 2004. During his eight years as President George Bush's right-hand man, Cheney placed himself in the opposite camp as the president. Cheney believed in state-sanctioned gay marriage, he said, rather than a federal mandate on the issue. "People ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish," he said. "Any kind of arrangement they wish."
Liz, the older of Dick's two daughters, is now involved in an uphill struggle for the position of Wyoming Senator. She's faced her fair share of opposition, including claims that she bought property in Wyoming to streamline her political ambitions — her father served as Wyoming State Representative for five terms. Not to mention, she's the daughter of Dick Cheney. (Though Dick's approval rating was decent during his time in office, it's plunged since the Bush era.)
Liz is not doing well in the polls: incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi currently has a 52-point lead over his opponent. But Liz still has time to close the gap, since the primary isn't until August next year.
Liz Cheney has been repeatedly questioned about her stance on gay marriage, and has come out looking a little confused. No, she doesn't support gay marriage. Yes, she's happy for her sister. No, she is not pro-gay marriage. Yes, her official policy, like her father's, is that gay marriage should be decided by each state. The hyper-conservative state of Wyoming doesn't legally allow same-sex marriage; 15 American states and the District of Columbia have now legalized the institution.
This isn't the first time a Cheney family feud has erupted over the issue. Back in August, Liz announced that she was "strongly pro-life” and “not pro-gay marriage.” Mary Cheney wrote on Facebook — apparently the Cheney's preferred method of communication — that her sister was "dead wrong on the issue of marriage."
Happy Thanksgiving, Cheneys! Hide the knives.