Media Research Center ’s Robert Knight called it “tragic.” Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth called it “immoral.” Concerned Women for America ’s Janice Crouse called it “unconscionable.” What are they talking about? A couple deciding to have a kid. If Vice-President Cheney thought that some of his biggest supporters would congratulate him on a new grandchild – or at least restrain themselves from sending out press releases – he had to be disappointed at the right-wing reaction to his daughter’s pregnancy and her plans to raise the child with her lesbian partner.
According to the Right, gays just aren’t fit to be parents – and raising a child is akin to a malicious act. CWA’s Crouse told ABC that Cheney and her partner are “deliberately bringing a child into the world without a father, leaving a great gaping hole” and that leads to “all sorts of negative outcomes — drug use, juvenile delinquency. You name it.” Crouse’s former fellow Concerned Woman Bob Knight went further, claiming that the “child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father,” and “they’re shortchanging this child from the start.” LaBarbera described the situation as “fatherless by design,” and decry the couple’s plans to “model immoral homosexual behavior before innocent children.”
Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family was a little more tactful, saying, “Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Love can’t replace a mother and a father.” She also talked, obliquely, about gay adoption, saying it “intentionally denies children either a mother or a father” and put the “desires of adults” above the “needs of children.” In this she echoed radio talker Kevin McCullough, who wrote that Cheney and her partner were withholding a father “purposefully, simply to stroke one’s own desire to have a child – sort of like a new handbag, or pair of shoes.”
Gay advocates pointed out that Mary Cheney’s home state, Virginia, recently passed a constitutional amendment to bar her partner, Heather Poe, from marrying her (or even entering a legal arrangement to approximate marriage), and so the efforts of the right-wing will have a real, deleterious effect on the child’s family situation. “Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child,” said Jennifer Chrisler of Family Pride.
But the Right took the opposite view: that Cheney was getting in the way of their anti-gay mission. Crouse told the L.A. Times, “Not only is she doing a disservice to her child, she’s voiding all the effort her father put into the Bush administration.” Knight said, “Mary and Heather can believe what they want, but what they’re seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage” and to “create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values.”