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Bush sticks to his views on gays becoming parents

He considers traditional families ideal, says his spokesman, but thinks Mary Cheney will be a `loving' mother.

December 16, 2006|James Gerstenzang | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Although he recently expressed confidence that Mary Cheney will make a loving parent, President Bush continues to believe it is best that a child is raised by a man and woman married to each other, the president's spokesman said Friday.

The pregnancy of Vice President Dick Cheney's younger daughter, a lesbian, has reignited public discussion on same-sex couples becoming parents.

Some social conservatives, who support Bush and the vice president on most issues, learned of Mary Cheney's pregnancy with dismay, saying it undermined efforts to emphasize the primacy of the traditional family unit.

Commenting on the controversy, Bush last week told People magazine, "I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I'm happy for her."

Pressed on whether his remark contradicted views he previously expressed that being raised by same-sex couples was not ideal for a child, he avoided a direct response.

"Mary Cheney is going to make a fine mom, and she's going to love this child a lot," he said.

In 2005, Bush said in an interview that he thought it best for a child to be raised by a man and woman married to each other. He does not favor same-sex marriage.

"I believe children can receive love from gay couples, but the ideal is -- and studies have shown that the ideal is -- where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman," he told the New York Times.

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked whether the president stood by this belief.

"Yes, he does," Snow replied.

"But he also believes that every human life is sacred and that every child who comes into this world deserves love," Snow said. "And he believes that Mary Cheney's child will in fact have loving parents."

Snow said Bush had not addressed whether he thought children raised by gays were at a disadvantage.

In the People interview, Bush said that he found out about Mary Cheney's pregnancy when the vice president "took me aside and gave me the good news."

Bush added that the vice president and his wife, Lynne, "are very happy for Mary."

The president did not mention Mary Cheney's partner of 15 years, Heather Poe.

Since the Bush administration took office in 2001, Mary Cheney has played a low-key but growing role in its political operation.

In 2004, she held a senior staff position in the Bush reelection campaign, and regularly traveled with her father aboard Air Force Two.

She is to give birth in the late spring.

james.gerstenzang@ latimes.com

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