Liz Cheney hit by sister for opposing gay marriage. Will that matter in Wyoming?(Read article summary)
On Fox News Sunday, Senate candidate Liz Cheney said she favors 'traditional marriage.' Liz's sister Mary, married to another woman with whom she's raising two children, fired back on Facebook.
John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor
Mary Cheney is gay. She and wife Heather Poe are raising two children.
âLiz â this isnât just an issue on which we disagree â youâre just wrong â and on the wrong side of history,â wrote Mary Cheney on her Facebook page.
This intra-family spat was sparked by a comment that older sister Liz, whoâs running for the GOP Senate nomination against incumbent Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, made earlier in the day on âFox News Sundayâ.
Asked by host Chris Wallace if sheâd flip-flopped on gay rights, Liz Cheney said she hadnât. While she supports equal benefits for same-sex partnerships, she thinks itâs an issue best left to states to decide.
âI do believe in the traditional issue of marriage,â she said.
This is what did not sit well with little sister Mary and Maryâs spouse Heather Poe, whose own Facebook comments were direct and personal.
âLiz 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 â she didnât hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us,â wrote Poe. âTo have her now say she doesnât support our right to marry is offensive to say the leastâ.
The context of this story is that on gay marriage Liz Cheney is caught between her family and the politics of Wyoming.
Wyoming is a conservative state. Sen. Enzi, the man Cheney wishes to unseat, is himself a gay marriage opponent. Plus, an outside money group that supports Enzi, the American Principles Fund, has been running ads that take not-too-subtle swipes at Cheney as soft when it comes to gay rights issues.
An ad titled âWrong for Wyoming," for instance, shows clips of Cheney appearing on the âliberal elitesâ channel MSNBC to discuss same-sex marriage. Cheney âsupports government benefits for gay couplesâ says the spot.
Another, called âWyoming Valuesâ, features conservative icon and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee saying that Mike Enzi is a âprincipled conservative . . . who believes that a mom and dad can do a better job raising kids than a government ever can doâ.
On âFox News Sundayâ Cheney complained about this tactic, saying âSenator Enziâs friends and supporters are running a really scurrilous ad in Wyoming. And the senator has said many times that he doesnât believe in gutter politics . . . I think he ought to renounce it,â says said.
Cheney may be struggling to get traction against an incumbent whoâs punching back pretty hard against her primary challenge. Thereâs little polling in the thinly populated state, but a July survey by the Democratic firm PPP found her 28 points behind Enzi. An internal poll conducted by the aforementioned American Principles Fund at the end of October put Enzi up by a whopping 52 points.
That should be taken with a heaping tablespoon of salt. But itâs probably safe to say that at this point, with a long way to go in the campaign, Cheney remains well behind the three-term incumbent.