WASHINGTON – Rep. Liz Cheney told CBS’ 60 Minutes she was “wrong” to oppose same-sex marriage when her objection to it caused a public split with her family, including her sister, Mary, and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Asked by reporter Lesley Stahl about the issue during an interview that aired Sunday, the Wyoming Republican said her thinking has changed on the subject.
“I was wrong. I was wrong. I love my sister very much. I love her family very much,” she told Stahl. “It’s a very personal issue, and very personal for my family. I believe that my dad was right. And my sister and I have had that conversation.”
Liz Cheney famously broke with her family in 2013 by opposing gay marriage ahead of a failed Senate bid. Her objections caused a rift with her sister, Mary, a married lesbian. Mary’s spouse, Heather Poe, posted on Facebook that year that Cheney’s position was offensive and that “I always thought freedom meant freedom for EVERYONE.”
“This is an issue that we have to recognize you know, as human beings that we need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state,” Cheney told 60 Minutes. “We were at an event a few nights ago and, and there was a young woman who said she doesn’t feel safe sometimes because she’s transgender. And nobody should feel unsafe. Freedom means freedom for everybody.”
Cheney is running for a fourth term in Wyoming in 2022. But her fervent opposition to former President Donald Trump, who still wields great influence in the Cowboy State, has made prospects of reelection an uphill climb.
Cheney is vice chairman of a committee assembled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif,. which is investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack by hundreds of his supporters against the Capitol while Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election.
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In the interview, Cheney criticized Biden’s “really disastrous policies” involving the economy and national security. “But the alternative cannot be a man who doesn’t believe in the rule of law, and who violated his oath of office,” Cheney said.
She called House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to court Trump following the insurrection “unforgiveable.” and said a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill have told her privately they support her standing up to the former president.
“I mean, if they really think what you’re doing is right, and they admire it and they encourage it, and they won’t do it, what is that?,” Stahl asked her.
“The argument that you often hear is that if you do something that is perceived as against Trump that you’ll put yourself in political peril,” she answered. “And that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy because if Republican leaders don’t stand up and condemn what happened then the voices in the party that are so dangerous will only get louder and stronger.”
Trump has vowed to defeat Cheney in next year’s primary election by backing Republican Harriet Hageman, an attorney. Cheney said nothing less than the authority of the Constitution is at stake.
“I think it’s going to be the most important House race in the country in 2022. And it will be one where people do have the opportunity to say, ‘We want to stand for the Constitution,'” she said. “A vote against me in this race, a vote for whomever Donald Trump has endorsed, is a vote for somebody who’s willing to perpetuate the big lie, somebody who’s willing to put allegiance to Trump above allegiance to the Constitution, absolutely.”
Contributing: The Associated Press.