June 2nd, 2009
10:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Steele, Cheney differ on same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after former Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his support for the idea of same-sex marriage, Republican party chairman Michael Steele re-stated his opposition to the idea.

"My personal view is that marriage is between a man and a woman," Steele said Tuesday on CNN's American Morning, "very much in line with what the president [Barack Obama] has said."

"...The vice president brings a very personal perspective to this issue," he also said. "I think his comments are an appropriate reflection of his family and his situation with his daughter."

At an appearance at the National Press Club Monday, Cheney reiterated his long-standing position that individuals should be able to choose the type of relationship they wish to enter into. Citing his own family's experience with the issue, he said the question of same-sex marriage was best left to the states, not the federal government.

"I think freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said Monday, when asked whether some form of legalized same-sex marriage is inevitable in the United States. "As many of you know," told the audience, "one of my daughters is gay – something that we've lived for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

Cheney also said Monday he did not think a federal law should govern the issue. Instead, he favors leaving the question of same-sex marriage to individual states. "That's the way it ought to be handled - on a state-by-state basis," he said. "Different states will make different decisions, but I don't have [a] problem with that."

Steele said Monday he also thought the battle would be worked out at the state level - that states will be the "ultimate arbiters" of what constitutes a legal marriage.

The RNC chairman also said Tuesday that Republicans should focus their scrutiny of Supreme Court nominee on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's extensive judicial record generated during nearly two decades on the federal bench.

"Her public comments are a little bit disconcerting, with respect to whether a Latina can make a better judgment than a white male,"
Steele told American Morning's Kiran Chetry. "She needs to explain that. And there's a lot of other things that she needs to go into some detail about and put in the proper context. We will be very vigorous in examining that."

Steele also slammed the Obama administration's extensive involvement with bankrupt automaker General Motors. "Government intrusion, to me, is just offensive to the market," Steele said.

soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. redleg

    Since when DON'T Republicans believe in gay marriage? Like Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Bob Baumann, Jim West.. ...and ever notice Pat Buchanan never seemed to father a child and Rush Limbaugh has problems with heterosexual relationships?

    June 2, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Rafael

    Steel Steel Steel, how quick the black man can forget the segregation, beatings, the killings, the harassment and the discrimination during a long saddened period of the country.

    For you to impose that very same discriminatory behavior on to gays and lesbians by denying them a right, the very rights your ancestors had to fight for is wrong.

    You ought to go back and live those days and see the feeling for yourself. Then comeback and let your gut tell you, it is wrong to discriminate against two people regardless of their gender; or wrong to commit and love one another in the same honor as others.

    Your view would change, so change it now.

    June 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Mich

    Mr. Steele knows that this is a moral issue for our country ,and not a civil one. The United States has always been a moral map for the rest of the world, but if we let the term marriage mean less then what is was attended to mean the rest of the world will only laugh at us.

    June 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Ted

    It is boringly predictable that a high-ranking Republican party official sides with the extreme of his party base and against history. Fifty years from now people will be scratching their heads in wonder about why there was a pig-headed insistence in our era on denying certain individuals a fundamental right that caused no harm either to individual citizens or to society at large. They will correctly view this denial as bigotry incited by unreflective adherence to religious dogma that cannot defend itself against genuine rational scrutiny. There are no REASONS that can be defended for denying gay marriage, which is why its opponents inevitably are reduced to saying that it's against their religious beliefs.

    But here's a news flash, my irrational conservative friends: in reason's march through history it invariably prevails against institutions based on rationally indefensible grounds. This means that you will be proven wrong on this issue just as your close-minded forebears were wrong about women's suffrage and slavery. So you might as well get on the right side of history or suffer the same infamy as those forebears.

    June 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. AJB

    If "God" didn't approve of homosexuals, why did he make them that way?

    June 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Dave C - NJ

    "Marriage" used to be defined by white married to whites only, blacks to blacks only, etc.

    So we cannot change it to meet the times?

    June 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. NEVADA JOE

    I don't beleive a Republican on any subject,any matter, any where, any time for any reason....They are all liars.

    June 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Trey J

    The GOP can't get anything right!
    When Chaney saids something that's actually right then the Chairman saids the complete opposite.
    If politics was the NFL the Republicans would be the 2008 version of the Detroit Lions 0-16!

    June 2, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Jessica

    I think Cheney represents the inevitable reality – as more people KNOW gay people, their position on it will change.

    Sadly, we are waaaaaaaay too impatient to allow the wheels of change to move as they need to. We arent that far away...live by example, lead by example, love by example...

    I don't mind or begrudge or think horribly of Cheney that he ONLY thinks this way because his daughter is gay, in fact I would have more to begrudge if he didn't feel this way despite having a gay daughter.

    Really people, take a few seconds to figure out what you care about and how you feel about it, remove partisan factors, and use clear common sense.

    I don't like Cheney for a whole host of reasons – this, isnt one of em. He's on the right side of this issue, sadly ONLY this issue for the most part.

    June 2, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Boytjie

    Robin: 'What happens when a priest, pastor, reverend, rabbi decline to perform same sex marriages because it is a contradiction of their faith?'

    The same thing that happens now when a divorced person wants to get married in the Roman Catholic Chruch: nothing.

    June 2, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Jesse R

    Michael Steele and Barack do think alike. That's nice. The leader of the RNC has the same non-progressive views as the leader of the DNC. Both can only see things in Black and White. Never see things in living color.

    June 2, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. jm for sc

    Excellent point Robin. It is amazing how people will compromise for their children.

    June 2, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. lia

    al June 2nd, 2009 12:13 pm ET

    Freedom of choice is o.k. when it is same sex marriage but not o.k. when you are woman with an unwanted pregnancy.

    ---------------------

    Huh? You are comparing a decision between 2 consenting adults to a decision of pregnant woman and an unborn baby who has no say? Does your belief in rights begin after birth? Well at least the babies born who aren't then killed because they were intended to be aborted?

    June 2, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. gaycharlestonsc

    I completely agree with Steele on gay marriage being a state's right's issue. So does that mean we may be seeing a referendum on the "state's right" of slavery anytime soon? Please.

    June 2, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. EO

    Its very convenient for Cheney to now make such statement, when he was a vice president or selected to be on a ticket, he did not want to talk about the issue because he has a Lesbian daughter, now all of a sudden its okay?? No. No No. how convenient is that??

    I am not a Republican nor a Democtat and i strongly believed that a marriage is between a man and a woman, ALL of those gay people were conceived the old fashion way thru a woman.

    June 2, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. wally

    If a boy can marry a boy, then I (a boy) want to marry my cute sister! Should this be permitted if I promise not to breed!

    June 2, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Zach K

    Cheney might be a heartless monster, but I got to respect on the way he treats, loves, and cares for her daughter and all other gay people.

    Nevertheless though, Cheney is still a nusiance.

    June 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Kimberly

    more in fighting!!! love it!!!! keep it up gopers its just another nail in the old coffin..Oh and debbie in va, he has never announced support of gay marriage,only that he thinks its up to the states, that is Not support, that is him trying to keep his daughter off his butt. that is not a posi\tion!!!

    June 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Tim

    I forget the specifics, but I remember there was a study done once that showed a huge majority of the people who are against gay marriage have admitted they really don't know any gay people (that they're aware of).

    Which goes to show that even someone like Cheney can have a different viewpoint on something once you've actually experienced the effect that it has on someone you care about.

    I guarantee you that if he didn't have a kid that was gay, he'd be right there towing the party line against gay marriage.

    That said, the whole gay marriage thing is stupid. Not only is marriage a religious institution and should be completely off limits to the law. If you want a marriage, you go to a priest, if you want a civil union, be it gay or straight, you go to the courts. The whole marriage institution as a whole is outdated and needs to be revised. Admit it, Marriage, be it straight OR gay, is broken. People don't marry for love anymore, they marry for financial reasons.

    June 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Dave Orban

    Same-sex marriage in no way affects the folks who are opposed to it, any more than my neighbor's marriage affects mine.

    Don't like the idea of folks of the same sex entering into a committed, nurturing relationship? Then you're probably not gay, and have no business weighing-in on something about which you really no nothing.

    There are plenty of other - far more important - issues affecting the world today that should be attracting your attention.

    Let the issue of domestic relationships between consenting adults be between those consenting adults alone... and not dictated by folks who clearly aren't affected by them.

    June 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Fla.

    Cheney 2004 said, "But the president makes basic policy for this administration, and he's made it clear that he does in fact support a constitutional amendment on this issue."

    Cheney was part of that administration with its basic policy, no matter how misguided it was. I am glad that he speaks more directly to this civil rights issue now.

    June 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. David

    Cheney has no choice in the matter. It's either lose his daughter, who is the 'only' person who can stand him, or state that he supports 'same sex marriage'. Gay is only a marketing term. There is no such thing as 'gay' marriage.

    The biggest issue with 'same sex' marriage is not about who loves who, or who marries who. But most men and women refuse to be put in the same category as the 'sub-group' that choose to live their lives based on sex and sexual activity.

    It's really not about impacting anyone else's marriage or anyone's religious beliefs either, but an 'association' that's being rejected.

    Maybe it's time for men and women who feel attracted to the same gender to really focus on behavior that enable them to be 'respected' by their society, instead of just being 'tolerated'.

    June 2, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. JS007

    This is Cheney's master plan for boosting his ratings – get Steele to disagree with you, thus making you look better. It worked...I now give Cheney a 5% approval (vs. 0% I did yesterday).

    June 2, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. LIBERAL FOR LIFE

    Well the dead has arisen and finally made some since on 2 separate issues, 9/11- how Iraq was not involved, and same sex marriage.

    Did he mention any of these during his time as V.P.? Why didn't he push to have same sex marriage legalized for all?

    I am a far left winger but after listening to Cheney speak yesterday, I started to feel some compassion. This guy only wanted to keep America safe. If you think about it, if someone invaded your home, your first reaction would be to make sure your family was safe.

    I still do not agree with alot of the Right Wing ideology!

    June 2, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Steele and Obama both against gays......

    they both say marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY.....

    But Cheney, who has a gay daughter is in favor of gay marriage--so why did gays vote for Obama when he thinks they have no rights and are consequently less than human??????

    June 2, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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