Thomas Roberts   |  November 18, 2013

Cheney vs. Cheney on marriage equality

Richard Socarides, Bill Clinton’s top adviser on gay civil rights, talks about Wyoming Senatorial candidate Liz Cheney's war of words over same-sex marriage.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i do believe it's an issue that's got to be left up to the states. i do believe in the traditional definition of marriage. i love mary very much. i love her family very much. this is just an issue in which we disagree.

>> those comments by wyoming senatorial candidate and liz 's sister mary . mary writing on twitter, liz , this isn't an issue on which we disagree. you're just wrong and on the wrong side of history. then liz 's sister-in-law heather poe wrote, liz has been a guest in our home. has spent time and shared holidays with our children. and when mary and i got married in 2012 , she doesn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us.

>> joins us now, bill clinton 's top adviser on lbgt civil rights . richard, great to have you here. this is obviously a very private family feud allowed in on the public of the cheney family. is liz being a hypocrite or being transparent and trying to be a homophobe to be elected in womening? wyoming ?

>> well, it's complicated. it mirrors what families are having who struggle with this issue and perhaps more in the old-fashioned arena of a family are coming to it. but you're right. what you worry about here for liz cheney is whether or not she's really being authentic. is she taking this position so she can be more in tune with the voters in wyoming where she's running for the senate. or is this really what she believes. and it's -- you one wonders, given the history in her family. the father, dick cheney , the vice president has been a longtime support of marriage equality even as a vice president. so it's complicated. families are complicated.

>> they certainly are. one reason liz may feel offensive about this because of the ads she's being hit with in wyoming . i want to show a peek to everybody.

>> in wyoming cheney conserampaigns as a conservative.

>> is it politically sustainable for candidates to say they're in favor of marital rights and in recognition of federal government , but not so much for marriage. when you have such a dynamic political family as the cheneys. and this deep divide, among the younger generation of cheneys, that's really telling.

>> well, let me say this, is it possible? yes. i think it is possible that liz could be happy for her sister and support her sister's family. and still stake out a political position against marriage equality . but is it likely --

>> by throwing her under the bus, she wants to be rewarded by wyoming voters by throwing her family, her sister and those kids under the bus to say that they are not eeququal to her. and wants to be rewarded for it by the wyoming voters?

>> you asked me if i think it is possible. i think it's possible. but i think it's very hard to believe that it is not just a political position that she's taken in a very calculated way to appeal to wyoming voters.

>> okay. so let's talk about this. ironically, it was ten years ago today in november, when massachusetts opened the door for same-sex couples to legally wed. the sun still comes up in massachusetts .

>> shocking, i know. shocking.

>> today, we have 15 states in the district of columbia allowing for marriage equality . illinois is set to be the next with the governor there signing a bill into law on the 20th. with more than half of americans supporting marriage equality . and we haven't seen any republicans truly -- we haven't seen any republicans truly punished for not supporting a family member. that if they believe in marriage equality .

>> or for supporting --

>> or for supporting legislatively. so do you think there will be -- her opponent, mike enzo has supports equality.

>> maybe it's what she really believes, who knows. but the decision you referred to in massachusetts , ten years ago today, massachusetts game the first state to have marriage equality court imposed. and ten years ago, marriage equality was neither inevitable, nor impossible. but ten years later. one-third of the u.s. population live in states where there's marriage equality . and we've seen a sea change . it's probably the most successful political movement of our lifetime.

>> they have marriage equality and mandated health care . what does massachusetts know that the rest of us don't know, right? what do you know up there?

>> and mitt romney as governor.

>> oh, yes. richard great to see you, sir. a big