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Cheney Figures in Ad Opposing Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Republicans' spots include remarks made by vice president, whose daughter is a lesbian.

March 11, 2004|Johanna Neuman | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A new ad paid for by a gay Republican group uses Vice President Dick Cheney to help make its case against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

The 30-second television commercial shows Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, at a debate during the 2000 campaign discussing gay rights. "We live in a free society ... and I think that means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into."

Cheney added: "The matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate.... I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area."

The words "We agree" then appear in the ad, which is sponsored by the Log Cabin Republicans. The commercial begins airing in the Washington area today and is to be shown later in seven states viewed as key battlegrounds in the general election: Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The ad includes scenes of 1960s civil rights protests and signs that say "Colored Waiting Room" to argue that gay marriage is a matter of individual liberty.

Many gay Republicans were among those angered last month when President Bush endorsed the idea of a constitutional amendment to ensure that marriage was sanctioned only between a man and a woman. Bush's backing followed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to allow gay marriages in that city, in defiance of state law.

Cheney said last week that he supported Bush's decision, which also was hailed by an array of conservative groups.

Log Cabin's executive director, Patrick Guerriero, said the group decided to launch its campaign "because the exclusion and discrimination embodied in this amendment violates the principles upon which the Republican Party is founded."

He said that donations to the group had grown since Bush's announcement and that the organization hoped to collect up to $1 million for the ad campaign.

Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt said, "We respect differences of opinion in the Republican Party, and we feel that during this election the Republicans will unite behind the president on the big issues facing this country -- the war on terror and growing the economy."

The College Republican National Committee also came to Bush's defense. "President Bush is exactly right when he says there is a consensus among Americans to protect the institution of marriage," said Eric Hoplin, the group's chairman. "If the Log Cabin Republicans are the loyal Republicans they claim to be, they should spend their millions on electing Republicans, not defeating them."

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