It is disturbing that the media gave so much coverage to Vice President and Lynne Cheney's "outrage" over Sen. John F. Kerry's mention of their lesbian daughter in the Oct. 13 debate ["Cheneys Steamed at Kerry Reference to Daughter," news story, Oct. 15].

First, Mary Cheney is an activist lesbian -- note her former position as the liaison to gays and lesbians for Coors Brewing Co.

Second, as a high-ranking official in the Cheney campaign, she is not a private figure.

Third, it seems unlikely that the Cheneys' reaction was intended to protect their thirtysomething daughter; rather, they seem to feel some shame about her sexual orientation or believe that their right-wing supporters find that orientation to be unacceptable.

The fact that the Cheneys have a lesbian daughter whom they profess to love as much as their heterosexual daughter underscores the hypocrisy of the Bush-Cheney campaign's use of anti-gay bigotry to rally its far-right constituencies.

It was well within the bounds of "decency" for Mr. Kerry to mention Ms. Cheney in response to Bob Schieffer's question about homosexuality.

The Cheneys' outrage is nothing more than yet another red herring to distract voters from the real issues facing our nation.

ERIC L. MILLER

Chicago

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Regarding "Mention of Gay Daughter a Cheap Trick, Lynne Cheney Says" [news story, Oct. 14]:

Lynne Cheney is right. Sen. John F. Kerry's invocation of Mary Cheney in response to Bob Schieffer's question about homosexuality was inappropriate and tasteless. Her sexual orientation, while not a secret, is no business of Mr. Kerry's.

If the senator felt compelled to cite an individual, why not his fellow Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank?

BRAGG VAN ANTWERP

New York

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By speaking up, Sen. John F. Kerry raised the importance of gay and lesbian rights for a segment of the population that has been demonized by this administration. Unless we put a personal story to an issue, few people can relate to it, whether it is billions in deficits, thousands of job losses and economic insecurity, the ter- rorists lurking behind every tree, or a family member or friend who struggles with acceptance as a gay man or as a lesbian.

Each person needs love from his or her family; each person also needs to be acknowledged by society. I wish that Mary Cheney could have been more of a spokeswoman for human rights and dignity.

Perhaps now she can be.

ANIKE BUCHE

Washington

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Reading that Elizabeth Edwards made a comment about Mary Cheney's "sexual preferences" made me want to scream.

This oft-used phrase implying choice is incorrect, and it's not plural either.

I prefer to color the gray out of my hair, and I prefer coffee over tea, but I'm darn sure "oriented" right-handed, tall, brown-eyed, easygoing and gay.

Because I have never been attracted to women at all, how is "choice" part of the equation?

HANK HURY

Washington