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Get this WP headline. I had a good laugh. Mention of Gay Daughter a Cheap Trick, Lynne Cheney Says.

Mary Cheney, one of the vice president’s two daughters and an official of the Bush-Cheney campaign, has been open about her lesbian status. The candidates were asked if they believe homosexuality is a choice, and President Bush did not mention Mary Cheney. Then Kerry said, “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.”

Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. “The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I’m speaking as a mom,” she said. “What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”

Steven Fisher, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political organization, said Kerry “was speaking to millions of American families who, like the Cheneys, have gay friends and family members.”

Lynne Cheney (and the rest of the dumbass talking heads last night that thought it was in bad taste to bring Mary up) need to remember that it was Gwen Ifill that opened the door to discussing Mary’s unique role (haha) in this campaign as the lesbian daughter of the VP in a homophobic administration. She’s fair game as she is being paid to work in her father’s campaign. She’s not a child.

Those who objected are just putting up this smokescreen of “outrage” to keep anyone from following up with the logical questions surrounding how they can be so hypocritical about “tolerance” in their party. All the signals they have been giving demonize homosexuals — and cravenly score political points with the wingnuts for votes by doing so.

Kerry’s answer that he believes in the traditional definition of “marriage” just reflects the fact that at this point and time, it’s just not politically survivable to be in favor of gay marriage. Just the fact that he utters “partnership rights” is pretty inflammatory. One step at a time. At least he’ll leave our Constitution alone.

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Sully has an eloquent response to the hullaballoo as well:

I keep getting emails asserting that Kerry’s mentioning of Mary Cheney is somehow offensive or gratuitous or a “low blow”. Huh? Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president’s family. That’s a public fact. No one’s privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush’s wife or daughters, no one says it’s a “low blow.” The double standards are entirely a function of people’s lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It’s a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this – and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush’s base uncomfortable? Well, good. It’s about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president. It’s an attack on all families with gay members – and on the family as an institution. That’s a central issue in this campaign, a key indictment of Bush’s record and more than relevant to any debate. For four years, this president has tried to make gay people invisible, to avoid any mention of us, to pretend we don’t exist. Well, we do. Right in front of him.

Update. It’s incredible that anyone thinks this is an “outing” when Mary’s been out for years, and even profited from it as a professional queer for Coors. This is about Republicans’ homophobia. Here are more comments, including a kick-ass response from Elizabeth Edwards and an incredible comment from Darth, who didn’t seem to mind talking about his daughter earlier in the year in a public way. This is from ABC News Noted Now:

ELIZABETH EDWARDS ON ABC RADIO: “She’s overreacted to this and treated it as if it’s shameful to have this discussion. I think that’s a very sad state of affairs… I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter’s sexual preferences… It makes me really sad that that’s Lynne’s response.”

LYNNE CHENEY AT POST-DEBATE RALLY: “The only thing I could conclude is that this is not a good man. This is not a good man. And, of course, I’m speaking as a mom. And a pretty indignant one. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”

DICK CHENEY TO NBC AFFILIATE WHO: “I would have said Sen. Kerry was out of line to bring my daughter into it. I thought it was totally inappropriate.”

WHAT KERRY SAID: “And I think 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.”

KERRY CAMPAIGN: Senior Kerry aide acknowledges “it was not his best moment,” but calls charges that it was inappropriate “ridiculous… The woman is in her thirties. She’s public about her sexuality. It was brought up in the last debate. So, what the hell?” ABC News’ Marc Ambinder reports…

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding