Nightly News   |  November 18, 2013

Cheney sisters show very public split on gay marriage

At one time the Cheney sisters bonded together to hit the campaign trail for their father. Now, the pair is having a tense public discourse on gay marriage. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> now to the public fight among two daughters in a very prominent american family that is making waves from d.c. all the way west. the subject of same-sex marriage is at the heart of the conflict in the cheney family. one sister who is gay, the other running for a senate seat, and their parents caught in the middle of this. we get the story tonight from nbc's andrea mitchell .

>> they were a picture perfect sister act campaigning for their dad when he first ran for congress. in the oval office when he became jerry ford 's chief of staff. just an all-american political family . conservative republicans who seemed to happily embrace mary cheney 's long-time partner and eventual spouse, heather po, and their children until sister liz tried to oust a veteran wyoming republican senator in the gop primary acknowledged their differences over gay marriage .

>> listen, i love mary very much. i love her family very much. this is just something in which we disagree.

>> liz and wife heather was stunned. mary wrote, " liz this isn't just an issue in which we disagree. you are wrong and on the wrong side of history. heather was even more pointed writing, "i can't help but wonder how liz would feel if as she moved from state to stated she would discover her family was protected in one does not the other." dick cheney has always supported mary 's choice, breaking ranks with george w. bush .

>> people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into.

>> today the cheney parents seemed to take mary and heather to task for going public about the family dispute, which could hurt liz 's campaign zoosh the cheney 's wrote in part, "this is an issue we've dealt with privately for my years, and we are pained to see it become public. liz has always believed in the traditional def anythings of marriage. liz 's many kindnesses shouldn't be used to distort her position."

>> what are you seeing in the cheney family is emblem attic of the discussions happening in republican and american households all around the country right now.

>> reporter: savan wra guthrie recently asked the former vice president about the issue?

>> is this causing tension in the family?

>> if it did, i wouldn't talk about it. that's a family matter.

>> reporter: two sisters, one inaccept rabl, now deeply divided. andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.