Liz Cheney's Politics Trump Her Family

There are sibling rivalries, and then there's throwing your sister under the bus.

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Siblings can be rather cruel, at times, as I remind my only-child friends. They take stuff from your room, read your diary aloud, tell your friends how old you were when you finally understood it is called "duct tape," and not "duck tape" (hey! it's an easy mistake!) and pretend not to know you when you pass in the hallway at school.

My brother used to enjoy the nights when my parents went out, leaving the three of us kids alone in the house. He would ask my sister if she wanted to "play waitress," meaning she would make him cinnamon toast and Kool-Aid and bring it to him while he lounged on the couch in our finished-off basement. She was young and thought it was fun. Me, I had it worse, being just two years younger than my brother. He used to pin me down on my back, then allow drool to come out of his mouth, horrifyingly near my face, before sucking in back up at the last minute.

But really, is there anything forgivable about having a sibling who simply cannot accept who and what you are, and would deny you the happiness you are lucky to find? Painfully, that is what Liz Cheney is doing to her sister, Mary.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gay marriage.]

Mary Cheney is married to another woman, and they have two children. Liz Cheney seems to have a problem with that – or at least, she does now that she is challenging Sen. Mike Enzi for the GOP nomination for Senate in Wyoming. The wannabe Senate candidate went on TV and professed her opposition to gay marriage.

It may well have been a political reaction to a conservative group's campaign ad that suggests Cheney is weak on the issue. But understandably, the happy same-sex couple took it personally. Said Heather Poe, Mary Cheney's wife:

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 to hear her say 'I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage. 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.

To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least. I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other. I always thought freedom meant freedom for EVERYONE.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

This isn't one of those situations where someone can say, I love you, but I don't love what you do. That's what you might say to a sibling dealing with a drug addiction or who is shoplifting. But this isn't Mary Cheney and Poe's lifestyle. It is who they are. It is how they are wired. The fact that they fell in love and married should be celebrated, not used as a political tool.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is of an age at which some people find it harder to accept gay unions, has welcomed his daughter-in-law. Why is it so hard for Liz Cheney to put familial love over a Senate campaign? And why would she want the votes of anyone who insulted her own family?

It certainly puts the whole drool-torture thing in perspective. And my brother grew up, got a Ph.D, and has been a loving sibling and friend to me and my sister. How sad Liz Cheney has not reached that point.

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