Mary Cheney
ParentsDick Cheney & Lynne Cheney
SpouseHeather Poe
ChildrenSamuel David Cheney

Mary Claire Cheney (born March 14, 1969) is the second daughter of Dick Cheney, the former Vice President of the United States, and his wife, Second Lady Lynne Cheney.

Early life

Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Second Lady Lynne Cheney. She has an older sister, Elizabeth, who served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, among several other federal government positions.

Cheney attended McLean High School in McLean, Virginia, graduating in the class of 1987. Following that, she attended Colorado College, her mother's alma mater, in Colorado Springs, Colorado and graduated in 1991. She earned a graduate business degree from the University of Denver in 2002.


In 1993, she became one of the first employees of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, working in promotions when the team began playing in Denver, Colorado.[1] Thereafter she was a public relations manager for the Coors Brewing Company and worked as a gay and lesbian outreach coordinator, helping to end a national gay boycott of Coors.[2]

She was one of her father's top campaign aides and closest confidantes. In July 2003 she became the director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential re-election campaign.

Cheney is a former vice president for consumer advocacy at AOL.[3]

Personal life

Since 1992, Cheney has been in a long-term relationship with Heather Poe, a former park ranger and United Parcel Service manager. In December 2006, Cheney was reported to be pregnant with her first child.[4] On April 4, 2007 Dick Cheney reported that he will have a grandson. "I'm delighted I'm about to be a grandparent for the sixth time," he told ABC News Radio. "I'm looking forward to the arrival of a new grandson."[3] Mary Cheney gave birth to Samuel David Cheney on May 23, 2007 in Washington, D.C.[5] Cheney and Poe currently live in Great Falls]], Virginia.

Attention to Cheney's sexual orientation

Mary Cheney's sexual orientation is a source of public attention because of her father's political station as Vice President of the United States, her political involvement with the Republican Party, and the ongoing same-sex marriage debate.

2000 Presidential campaign

In 2000, the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaign freely discussed Elizabeth Cheney's marriage and children, but treated Mary Cheney's private life as off-limits.[2] Nevertheless, Cheney's sexual orientation was publicly known, and thus some considered her presence during the campaign as bolstering, providing the Republican ticket with a "compassionate conservatives" image.[6] During an interview with Lynne Cheney, Cokie Roberts brought up the topic of Mary Cheney's having declared herself a lesbian. Mrs. Cheney responded by stating that her daughter had "declared no such thing,"[7] and criticized Roberts and the media for their interest in the story.[7]

In 2002, Cheney joined the Republican gay-straight alliance Republican Unity Coalition and said that sexual orientation should be "a non-issue for the Republican Party", with a goal of "equality for all gay and lesbian Americans."[8] Cheney resigned from the RUC's board and in July 2003 became the director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential re-election campaign.[6]

Federal Marriage Amendment

In 2004, public attention refocused on Cheney's sexuality when the Bush administration supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would limit marriage to heterosexual couples and also ban civil unions and domestic partnership benefits. Cheney did not publicly express her opinion of the amendment at the time. In her 2006 autobiography Now It's My Turn, Cheney stated her opposition to the amendment. However, at the time, she remained silent to support Bush's re-election bid. In August 2004, Vice President Cheney reiterated the position he took in the 2000 Presidential campaign: that the issue should be handled by individual state governments. He added, though, that Bush determined his administration's policies and his policy supported the Federal Marriage Amendment.[9]

In September 2004, Illinois Senate candidate Alan Keyes was criticized for contending that Mary Cheney was "a selfish hedonist". When he made this statement about homosexuals in general and was asked if this made Cheney one, Keyes replied "Of course she is. That goes by definition". Keyes later clarified his statement by noting that if his own daughter were engaged in such a lifestyle, he would still love her, but would tell her that she was in sin.

2004 Presidential re-election campaign

During the 2004 Presidential re-election campaign for the Bush-Cheney administration during which Cheney served as her father's director of vice presidential operations, the subject of Cheney's sexual orientation arose again.

Both Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards mentioned and praised Cheney's openness with regard to her sexual orientation when questioned regarding homosexuality issues. However, some commentators viewed these remarks as a cynical appeal to residual homophobia among blue-collar voters in key swing states.[10]

The 2004 presidential election debates included mentions of the same-sex marriage debate and referred, initially indirectly, to Cheney.

During the Cheney-Edwards Vice-Presidential Debate, moderator Gwen Ifill asked a question to the Vice President in which his daughter was indirectly mentioned:

"I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: 'Freedom means freedom for everybody.' You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks. Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?"[11]

Vice President Cheney reiterated his position of four years ago, stating the issue should be left to the states but that he supports the Bush administration. He did not mention his family nor his daughter in his immediate response to the question. During Edwards's response, he said:

"I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy."

In subsequent discussion the Vice President thanked Edwards for his comments about his family and daughter.[11] At the end of the debate, Mary Cheney appeared on the podium with her partner and the rest of the family.

During the third and final Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate, moderator Bob Schieffer asked, "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?" John Kerry replied, "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."[12] This prompted an angry response from Vice President Cheney, who stated, "You saw a man who will say and do anything in order to get elected. And I am not just speaking as a father here, though I am a pretty angry father."[13]

2006 interviews and autobiography

Mary Cheney left the public spotlight after the 2004 election until May 4, 2006, when she gave an interview with Diane Sawyer for ABC News' Primetime program.[14] Cheney did the interview to garner publicity for her autobiography titled Now It's My Turn. In the biography, Cheney discusses how she came out to her parents, noting her father's initial reaction: "You know, look, you're my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy." She also discusses her relationship with her partner, Heather Poe.

Gay rights advocates criticized her for waiting until after the 2004 election to voice her disapproval of George W. Bush's positions on gay rights. During Mary Cheney's May 19, 2006 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Letterman addressed some of the issues raised by the gay community. He questioned Cheney on why she waited two years after the 2004 election to speak publicly about gay marriage and rights. He also asked whether she had any input on her father's administration regarding gay issues. Cheney responded that she did not, and that it is not her job to do so.[15]

Pregnancies and childbirths

In December 2006, Cheney was reported to be pregnant; circumstances surrounding the conception were not reported.[4] Cheney and Poe are said to be "ecstatic" about the baby, due in late spring 2007. "The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild," spokesman Lea Anne McBride said on December 5. Some conservatives were critical, however. The Concerned Women for America called the pregnancy "unconscionable."[16]

On January 31, 2007, in a forum by Glamour Magazine at Barnard College of Columbia University, Mary Cheney stated that: "This is a baby... This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child."[17]

Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour magazine, asked Cheney if she had anything to say to critics like Dr. James Dobson. Cheney accused Dobson of distorting the research he cited and added: "Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment." She also said that Dobson was entitled to his opinion, "but he's not someone whose endorsement I have ever drastically sought."[17]

Mary Cheney gave birth to her second child, daughter Sarah Lynne Cheney, on November 18, 2009.[18]



  1. USA Today. (15 October 2004) Cheney's gay daughter involved, but behind the political scenes Accessed 3 September 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cloud, John. (1 August 2000) Why Nothing About Mary? Accessed 28 May 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Perry, Simon. (5 April 2007) Mary Cheney Expecting a Boy, Her Dad Reveals Accessed 28 May 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne. (6 December 2006) Mary Cheney and Partner Are About to Be Moms The Washington Post. Accessed 28 May 2007.
  5. CNN. (23 May 2007) Vice President Cheney's legacy grows by one grandchild The CNN Wire. Accessed 29 May 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Miller, Mark; Rosenberg, Debra. (23 February 2004) Something About Mary Newsweek. Accessed 28 May 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dave Cullen and Daryl Lindsey. (1 August 2000) Gays blast Lynn Cheney's denial about her daughter Accessed 3 September 2007.
  8. Morman, Todd. (22 May 2002) Gay Baiting with the N.C. GOP Accessed 3 September 2007.
  9. CNN. (25 August 2004) Cheney describes same-sex marriage as state issue Accessed 28 May 2007.
  10. Taranto, James (October 14, 2004) Best of the Web. Accessed June 1, 2007.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ifill, Gwen. (5 October 2004) The Cheney-Edwards Vice Presidential Debate transcript Case Western Reserve University. Cleveland, Ohio. Accessed 28 May 2007.
  12. Schieffer, Bob. (13 October 2004) The Third Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate transcript Arizona State University. Tempe, Arizona. Accessed 29 May 2007.
  13. (15 October 2004) Spinning Semantics Accessed 3 September 2007.
  14. Sawyer, Diane. (3 May 2006) Mary Cheney Considered Quitting 2004 Campaign Over Gay Marriage Issue ABC News. Accessed 28 May 2007.
  15. McIntee, Michael Z. (19 May 2006) Late Show with David Letterman: The Wahoo Gazette, Show Recap: #2559 Accessed 3 September 2007.
  16. BBC News. (7 December 2006) Cheney's lesbian daughter pregnant Accessed 3 September 2007
  17. 17.0 17.1 Mooney, Alexander. (1 February 2007) Cheney's daughter: My baby 'is not a prop' Accessed 3 September 2007.
  18. ABC. (November 19, 2009) Cheneys Welcome Seventh Grandchild Accessed July 24, 2011

External links

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