Mary Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and onetime gay outreach director for Coors Brewing Company, gave $1,000 to a Republican Senate hopeful who voted against same-sex marriage and allowing gay couples to adopt children in the District of Columbia.
Cheney, 40, has a two-year old son with her partner of 17 years, Heather Poe. The donation to former Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) was made in May. Portman is seeking the Senate seat that will be vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) when he retires in 2011.
Cheney’s donation is remarkable considering her public comments on same-sex marriage and gay adoption. In 2004, she reportedly considered quitting her father’s re-election campaign after President Bush endorsed a federal marriage banning gay marriage. In 2007, she rebuked televangelist James Dobson for comments criticizing gay couples’ adoption.
“Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents,” Cheney said. “What matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment.”
“When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most popular decision,” Cheney added. “This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.”
Cheney, however, appears to oppose banning gay marriage — at least if her donation to opponents of California’s Proposition 8 measure is any indication. Mary Cheney gave $3,000 to opponents of the measure banning same-sex marriage in June.
Portman’s opposition to same-sex marriage is particularly salient, because both of his potential Democratic challengers favor its legalization. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner reaffirmed her backing for gay marriage in a posting at The Huffington Post in June, and a spokesman for Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher announced that he’d reversed his opposition the same month.
Robert Paduchik, Portman’s campaign manager, told the Columbus Dispatch in June that the erstwhile congressman still opposes same-sex marriage.
“Rob Portman has always believed that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman,” Paduchik said.
Portman, 53, resigned from Congress in 2005 after being appointed the United States Trade Representative by President Bush in 2005. He was named director of the Office of Management and Budget under Bush after the organization’s director, Joshua Bolten, was appointed Bush’s chief of staff in 2006. He announced his candidacy for the Senate in January.