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Gay leaders throw Mary Cheney a bone in today's Wash Post

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Fascinating op ed by Hilary Rosen and Elizabeth Birch, two of the most powerful women in the glbt movement.

Both women have chosen to take the "embrace Mary" tack. She can provide a useful teaching moment for America. And that's true. I do, however, think there's enough between the lines in the op ed, especially the last line, to gets us back to the main point. That point is that the Cheneys, including Mary, need to do more than just point out that they love each other - they need to do something to help the millions of other Cheney-type families being threatened by gay-bashing Republican politics.

It's great (if not totally unsurprising) that Mary is herself pro-gay, supports gay marriage, believes gays should adopt, and is opposed to the anti-gay constitutional amendment. While good news, those facts elicit a bit of a "well, duh." What's important is that Mary chose not to help her community when it mattered the most - when her father and his boss were trying to write our second-class citizenship in the US Constitution. As Mary now concedes, no one forced her to sit back silently while her father's administration - HER administration - dehumanized her own lover. George Bush offered her the chance to go public and defend her community. But Mary CHOSE to sit back silently and do nothing.

While a book is a good start at doing something, the proof will come when Mary has the courage, the self-awareness, and the sense of community to recognize that she has the power to stop the Republicans' gay-bashing in its tracks. She has the name to shame the Congress and the Republican re-election machine into leaving gays alone, at least for the next three years.

The question is whether this time Mary will rise to the challenge.

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