Vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney, father of a lesbian daughter, in a 2000 debate with Senator Joe Lieberman:
The fact of the matter is, we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. And I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.
The next step, then… is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction, if you will, of the relationship. That matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that’s appropriate. I don’t think there should necessarily be a federal policy.
Fast-forward just a few years later as, during an interview with the Denver Post this past Friday, the now vice president made an about-face as he said he would support a presidential push to ban same-sex marriage.
What I said in 2000 was that the question of whether or not some sort of status, legal status or sanction ought to be granted in the case of a relationship between two individuals of the same sex was historically a matter the states had decided and resolved, and that is the way I preferred it.
[But] at this stage, obviously, the president is going to have to make a decision in terms of what administration policy is on this particular provision, and I will support whatever decision he makes. [The president has, of course, said that he will support a constitutional amendment, if necessary, whatever that latter qualification means.]
What I find even more amazing is the response of Ted Halaby, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who has stated that the vice president’s message has been misunderstood: “They are looking at it as an anti-gay position, but it is not.” According to a later article in the Post, “Halaby explained that Cheney, in the past, has said that states–not the federal government–should decide the legality of gay marriage. [Halaby] said Cheney’s position has evolved…” (so the evolution of the Republican Party is towards the abrogation of states’ rights?)
Halaby went on to say that Cheney’s new position is a policy decision, not a stance for or against homosexuality, one, in fact, that should be appreciated in the context of Republican diversity. “We respect a diversity of opinion in the Republican Party,” Halaby said. “The Republican Party is the party of inclusion.”
Even when the diversity of opinion is in the form of inherently contradictory positions held by the vice president.
Evolution. Diversity. Inclusion. I obviously need a new dictionary, because these words seem to have been redefined in the past four years.