Cheney on Same-Sex Marriage, a Theologian on an Abortion Provider's Killing

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cheney Supports Gay Marriage

Former vice president Dick Cheney this week voiced his support for same-sex marriage, as long as it is handled by the states and not the federal government.

Cheney, whose daughter has a longtime female partner, said at the National Press Club that "people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

His position appears to place him to the left of President Obama, who has said that he supports civil unions, rather than marriage, for gay men and lesbians. The question is whether Cheney's support will make any difference in the same-sex marriage debate. Will it pull more Christian conservatives into the pro-gay-marriage camp?

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, welcomed Cheney's comments through gritted teeth.

"It is unfortunate that it took the former vice president two terms in office, two terms that were the most anti-LGBT in history, before he decided to stand up for equality," said Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC. "That being said, we welcome his voice to the table on this issue and hope the remaining right-wing opponents of marriage equality see how completely out of touch they have become."

The Killing of George Tiller

R.R. Reno, a theologian and editor of the Catholic journal First Things, which is online at, wrote this week about the killing of abortion provider George Tiller. Reno steps beyond the "all violence is evil" condemnations and, using Christian teachings, lays out why Tiller's killing was wrong even though, to many Christians, Tiller himself was a murderer.

Reno says he thinks some of the denunciations of the killing by antiabortion leaders sometimes went too far. Speaking for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for example, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia said the bishops "have repeatedly and publicly denounced all forms of violence in our society." Reno says the blanket condemnation of "violence" seems "unhelpfully expansive."

Reno notes that antiabortion leaders have rushed to condemn the killing and the killer. But then he dares to ask, why is the killing wrong? The reasons, he says, "are not as simple as they seem."

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