Guest Blogger

Is the Cheney baby a Pride Messiah?

Filed By Guest Blogger | June 04, 2007 10:40 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Dick Cheney, Equality Federation, guest post, LGBT community, Mary Cheney, pride, Samuel Cheney, Sean Kosofsky, Triangle Foundation

Sean Kosofsky[EDITOR'S NOTE] The following is a guest post by Sean Kosofsky. Sean is the Director of Policy for Triangle Foundation, Michigan's leading civil rights organization for GLBT people. He is one of the most visible, recognizable and accomplished GLBT activists in Michigan, and is known nationally for his work. Sean is also on the board of the Equality Federation, the largest GLBT lobbying and activist entity in the nation.

"...and a child will lead them all.'' (Isaiah 11:6)

Isaiah said these words in a time of immense turmoil between Middle Eastern nations, when rumors of an upcoming spiritual renaissance were widespread. According to Isaiah, the birth of the child would be the eve of that awakening.

It is indeed rare for me to quote the Bible, but the religio-historical parallels are just too perfect; almost like Haley's Comet or the cyclical re-birth of the cicadas. Mary Cheney and her partner Heather Poe have had a baby boy, Samuel. (Note that "Mary and Poe" rhymes with the Biblical "Mary and Joe" and that Samuel is a Biblical name). Could the 2006 November elections and the current conflict in the Middle East be some kind of political and historical markers letting us know that another spiritual renaissance, one of openness and acceptance, is near? Will today's youth be the champions who finally tear down the legal barriers to GLBT equality in our lifetime, thereby moving us out of the dark ages of sexual shame?

The parallels are just too similar. Samuel Cheney must be the Pride Messiah. It sure sounds Biblical and prophetic; a little boy, born into a world hostile to his family, on the cusp of a month known for a great battle between an oppressed minority and an oppressive government. (If the Stonewall Inn had a manger, these coincidences are enough to have the Heaven's Gate cult packing their bags).

Putting religious comparisons aside, the birth of Samuel Cheney is an important moment for our movement. Cheney and her clan are now reaping the benefits of years of GLBT activism even though she worked to elect the President with the most homophobic record in American history. She sold out our movement and millions of families just like hers, yet she is cradled by a fabric of laws and court decisions that are starting to support her family. Many of us actually don't think George W. Bush or Dick Cheney are homophobic at all, despite their pandering to the worst elements in American society. Privately the Bush/Cheney White House is probably very supportive of Mary Cheney's family, which is why this moment in time is so interesting.

Religious extremists are furious that Cheney and Poe decided to get pregnant. All of their efforts to make sure this White House toed the line on homophobic polices were brushed aside. This moment could not be stopped by lobbying, an email campaign or a veto threat. This moment was personal. No amount of pandering, anti-equality amendments or appointments of conservative judicial activists could put their bigoted Humpty Dumpty back together again.

The month of June is so much more than parties, parades and rainbow-colored wind chimes. It is our month. It is a time to remember the Stonewall Rebellion and work for progress. We are still harassed by police. Crimes against us still go uninvestigated, like the murder of Andrew Anthos. Lawmakers still play politics with our lives and political consultants "test" messages about gay marriage in polls and focus groups. The White House cannot even bring itself to support hate crimes legislation or allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. Military during the current recruitment crisis.

Certainly, even for just a moment, we should have pride in the fact that Mary Cheney's family is celebrating a new life. Hopefully their pride about who they are will educate others about GLBT families. And hopefully, by the time little Samuel enters elementary school he won't face the teasing and torment that other kids have because he has two mommies.

My good friend and brilliant activist Kate Runyon told me once that she refers to the ministry of Jesus as a rare and radical form of love and compassion that was cutting edge for its time. Whether your values are rooted in secular or religious tradition, Pride should be a time for all of us to examine our own radical form of compassion and really go beyond our normal routine in terms of volunteering and charitable giving. Don't wait for Samuel Cheney to lead the way - if you have pride, show it.

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If Samuel Cheney is the Pride Messiah, will he drink Budweiser, or Coors? (Think carefully about this one)