Cheney family splits on same-sex marriage

Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney, seen here after she announced her Senate bid, disagrees with her openly gay sister Mary and her father, Dick Cheney, on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Marc Piscotty, Getty Images

Liz Cheney's bid for Wyoming's Senate seat has created a rift in the politically active family over the issue of same-sex marriage.

Cheney, who is challenging Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., in the Republican primary, said on "Fox News Sunday" that she disagrees with her openly gay sister, Mary, on gay marriage.

"I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue in which we disagree," said Liz Cheney, whose father, Dick, was vice president under George W. Bush. Dick Cheney has been supportive of states making the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

Liz Cheney followed in her father's opposition to federal action on same-sex marriage. She said "it's an issue that's got to be left up to the state," but also added that, "I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage."

Cheney has come under fire from the American Principles Fund, a conservative super PAC that is running ads accusing her of wavering on her opposition to same-sex marriage because she opposed a constitutional amendment banning the practice and because of her support for the State Department's decision to extend benefits to same-sex partners.

"I don't believe we've got to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. If people are in a same-sex relationship and they want their partner to be able to have health benefits or be designated as a beneficiary on their life insurance, there's no reason they shouldn't do that," she said on "Fox News Sunday."

Mary Cheney, who married her partner in 2102, wrote on Facebook in August that her sister is "dead wrong" on the issue.

"All families -- regardless of how they look or how they are made -- all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other," she wrote.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.