Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, is a lesbian. This is not a recent revelation, yet the media continues to treat it as one.
And so the media go gaga over the fact that Mary Cheney is pregnant and that she will raise the baby with her lesbian partner, Heather Poe. "News of the pregnancy will undoubtedly reignite the debate about gay marriage," explains The Washington Post. "Cheney has described her relationship with Poe -- whom she took to last year's White House dinner honoring Prince Charles and Camilla -- as a marriage."
Cheney's pregnancy raises two questions. First, does her homosexuality mean that she has a moral duty to stop campaigning for the Republican Party? Second, and more importantly, does the Republican Party have a moral duty to stop Cheney from campaigning on its behalf?
The answer to the first question is easy: no. How Cheney defines herself politically is her business. Politics is about the ordering of values. In the aggregate, Cheney obviously believes that the Republican Party better reflects her values. Yes, the Republican Party opposes societal approval of homosexual activity; yes, the Republican Party opposes redefinition of marriage to include members of the same sex. Cheney votes and campaigns Republican anyway, which means that she values national security and economic policy above policy on homosexuality.
This is an entirely rational decision, though the left sees it as treason for anyone homosexual to worry about causes other than homosexuality. For the left, homosexuals are one-dimensional. They're here, they're queer -- and that's about all they are. Cheney angers the left because she is a human being, not a caricature. She may be a lesbian, but she cares about the war on terrorism and government spending. Her lesbianism is an aspect of her identity, not her entire identity.
Does this make Cheney a hypocrite? Absolutely not. Hypocrisy is defined as pretending to hold beliefs that one does not actually hold. Cheney does not pretend to agree with the Republican Party's platform on marriage or homosexuality. She disagrees openly and publicly. That she endorses the party nonetheless suggests merely that the GOP's stand on homosexuality is not a make-or-break issue for her.
In a two-party system, very few people agree with every tenet of their party's platform. There are religious people who support the Democratic Party, despite the Democrats' general opposition to religious values. There are atheists who support the Republican Party because they agree with the basic principles of laissez-faire economics. The only hypocrisy with regard to Cheney is the hypocrisy of her opponents, who champion the right to self-expression but refuse to allow homosexuals to express their value preferences when those preferences do not toe the liberal line.
The answer to the second question is similarly simple: The Republican Party has no duty to stop Cheney from campaigning on its behalf. Conservatives believe that her lifestyle is immoral, regardless of her political stance. Homosexuality is wrong. Bringing up a child in a homosexual household is similarly wrong. A child deserves a mother and a father; "Heather Has Two Mommies" may, unfortunately, be descriptive in many states, but it shouldn't be the standard. For a lesbian to artificially inseminate herself, knowing full well that the child will be brought up in a home lacking the basic component of fatherhood, is disreputable.
But Cheney does not ask the Republican Party for permission to act as she does in her personal life. She does not campaign for Republicans on the condition that the Republican Party change its moral and political stance with regard to homosexuals. Is her behavior inappropriate? Absolutely. But the behavior of many prominent Republicans stands in stark contrast with the party platform. The GOP stands opposed to abortion; surely there are many women who vote and campaign Republican who have had abortions in the past.
Only when those like Cheney begin dictating policy to the Republican Party does the party have a responsibility to choose between the support of homosexual Republicans and its traditional moral platform. In the last presidential election, for example, the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse President Bush; the Republican Party responded by ignoring the LCRs. There, the LCRs forced a choice, and the GOP chose its values over a certain segment of its voters. Cheney has yet to force such a choice. If and when she does so, the GOP will be obligated to sacrifice her support for its principles.