There are few policy differences between Wyoming Republican Senate candidate Liz Cheney and the incumbent she's trying to oust in 2014, Sen. Mike Enzi. Except for one issue: Gay marriage.
Unlike Enzi, the 46-year-old daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney supports the right for states to legalize gay marriage. At least that's what she said in 2009, in an interview with MSNBC, of all places. At that was a time when the notion of same-sex marriage had considerably less support.
And that has even Daily Kos writer Scott Welch offering at least limited praise for Liz Cheney. Cheney, Welch writes:
Seemed to indicate tentative support for marriage equality and LGBT rights at large, saying: 'Well, look I think, you know, my family has been very clear about this, that we think freedom means freedom for everybody and that this is an issue that states have to decide for themselves.'
While Cheney's language is hardly a full-throated, ringing endorsement of equality ('this is an issue that states have to decide for themselves'), her aligning herself with her family is encouraging: her sister, Mary, who is an out lesbian and her father both are on record support marriage equality. She went on to reiterate opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, expressed support for the State Department's extension of benefits to same-sex couples, and said, 'I think it's wrong to discriminate, in those relationships, based on someone's sexual preference.' Additionally, she supported repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
All this leads me to wonder, should we be rooting for Cheney in her primary campaign against Enzi? Don't get me wrong: I would abhor seeing either of them elected to the Senate. Both embrace the Tea Party agenda and the right's nutty conspiracy theories wholeheartedly. That being said, even if the primary is as ugly as possible, the winner of the GOP primary will, come 2014, be elected Senator in a state as ruby red as Wyoming. Given that either of them would both toe the Tea Party line if elected, why not root for Cheney in the hopes that she might be a sleeper vote for LGBT rights such as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act? It's hard to see on what issues she might be farther to the right than Enzi.
If elected, Cheney would be the fourth Republican senator to back same-sex marriage, along with Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio). Most Democratic senators have said they support gay marriage.
Politix, and via Daily Kos.