Mary Cheney not onstage after President’s speech?

Andrew Sullivan is up in arms today over the belief that Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary, a lesbian, did not appear onstage with the family after President Bush’s speech Thursday night. He posts the comments of an emailer and then quotes some similar thoughts from Steven Waldman:

What possible explanation is there here that doesn’t make the Cheneys look like ghoulish parents? I suppose we should wait for more information; perhaps she had an appendicitis attack and was immobile. More likely, either they discouraged her from appearing or she voluntarily exiled herself, not wanting to embarrass her dad, at which point dad should have said, “I love you. You belong up here with me.”

As I wrote earlier, perhaps Mary said she couldn’t wound her partner by going up their without her. If that was the case, the compassionate thing for the Cheneys to do would be take away the awkwardness by having the podium scene without spouses. They would have produced a slightly less cheery photo up but made a powerful statement about love, pride and family.

And this has nothing to do with one’s position on gay marriage. Having Mary Cheney up there would have in no way contradicted either Dick Cheney or George W. Bush’s policies on gay marriage. Bush should be asked about this, too. Powerful evidence was offered that, on a personal level, Bush is a compassionate man. So why didn’t he go to Cheney and say: “Hey, don’t sweat it Dick. Mary is part of our family. Don’t worry about the politics”?

… and then Andrew adds a final comment of his own:

But that’s not the way they are, is it? The Republicans talk about family values; but they believe in disappearing their loved ones when politics demands it.

After reading this, I kept thinking to myself that Mary Cheney did indeed appear onstage with the family afterwards. One thing about the post-speech waves from the families to the crowd was that neither the Bush nor Cheney family was on the stage for very long so if you blinked, you’d miss seeing some things. I remember that night watching the goings on and seeing Mary Cheney on the stage with the Cheney family. Now, my eyes may have decieved me, but seeing her on the stage was something I’d made a mental note to do earlier, because I knew if she didn’t, many in the gay community would make their opinions about it known.

With that in mind, I did a search today and found a picture from the convention Thursday night with who I believe is Mary Cheney in the background, in a white top, with short blonde hair, towards the back on the left. The caption of that picture off of the Yahoo News site did not note who was in the picture, outside of the President and the First Lady. If anyone else out there has any links to photos or stories of Ms. Cheney onstage after the President’s speech, please either post about them in the comments section here or email me with them.

Also, Andrew wondered Thursday where Mary was during Vice President Cheney’s speech Wednesday night:

Another missing link: Mary Cheney. Where was she? She was “disappeared” from the family tableau, perhaps of her own choice. But the only reason she was not there was obvious. No openly gay people belong anywhere near that podium. Her position, at this point, is poignant – but, alas, increasingly impossible.

Mary was right here. Caption: Mary Cheney, left, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, sits with an unidentified guest in Madison Square Garden during the Republican National Convention in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall). Here’s another photo.

I know Andrew is disgusted with the Republican Party because of their stance against gay marriage (among other things) and will not support the President in November, but methinks this disgust has marred his normally razor sharp ability to see things with a level head.

If what Sullivan said about “disappearing their loved ones when politics demands it” were true, then Vice President Dick Cheney wouldn’t have come out in support of gay relationships two weeks ago when asked about it, now woud he? “Freedom means freedom for everyone” Cheney was quoted as saying at a campaign rally in Mississippi. Here’s a more complete account of his comments:

“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue our family is very familiar with,” Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. “With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone. … People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.

“The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that’s been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage,” he said.

Understandably, Andrew has some legitimate grievances with the Republican party. But he shoudn’t let those grievances get in the way of being able to seperate fact from fiction. Even if that wasn’t Mary Cheney onstage Thursday night, she *was* at the convention sitting in the President’s box with her partner the night before for her father’s speech and her father OPENLY supports her. I enjoy reading Andrew’s blog, but not when he gets like this.