Cheney Family Feud Over Gay Marriage Escalates

Liz and Mary Cheney in bitter fight over gay marriage.

Mary Cheney, right, daughter of  Vice President Dick Cheney, appears on "Fox News Sunday" in Washington, Sunday, May 14, 2006. Liz Cheney speaks during a campaign appearance in Casper, Wyo., Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
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The very public debate between sisters Mary and Liz Cheney became even more fractured Monday afternoon when their parents got involved, seemingly taking Liz’s side. 

“This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public,” a statement released on Twitter from former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne, read. “Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done.”

After Liz Cheney, a candidate for Senate from Wyoming, repeated her opposition on Sunday to gay marriage during an appearance on Fox News, her sister Mary Cheney and wife Heather Poe blasted Liz Cheney on social media.

[READ: He’s Baaack: Dick Cheney is Stirring Things Up]

"I was watching my sister-in-law on Fox News Sunday (yes Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law) and was very disappointed," Poe wrote on Facebook. "Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 - she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us."

Mary Cheney also publicly admonished her sister's political statement against gay marriage.

"Liz-this isn't just an issue on which we disagree-you're just wrong-and on the wrong side of history," Mary Cheney wrote.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Mary's and Liz's father, has publicly supported states adopting gay marriage laws since 2009.

[ALSO: Dick Cheney and Others Defend NSA Surveillance Programs]

This is not the first time the Cheney sisters have spared publicly over the issue.

In August, Mary Cheney spoke out against her sister saying "freedom means freedom for everyone."

In the Republican primary race between Liz Cheney and incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the issue of gay marriage is a flash point. Both candidates have strong conservative principles and nearly identical policy stances. However, the conservative American Principles Fund has launched a series of ads against Liz Cheney for being too sympathetic to gay marriage.

One ad against Liz Cheney depicts her in 2009 on MSNBC speaking out in support of the state department's decision to extend benefits for same-sex couples.

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Update 11/18/13: This story has been updated to include a statement from Lynne and Dick Cheney.