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September 11, 2009


Mary Cheney gave $1,000 to anti-gay Ohio candidate

Great Falls, Virginia--The lesbian daughter of a former vice president has given $1,000 to an anti-gay Ohio U.S. Senate candidate.

Republican candidate Rob Portman, who seeks the seat being vacated by the retiring George Voinovich next year, received the contribution from Mary Cheney of Great Falls, Virginia.

Cheney and her 17-year partner Heather Poe came to national prominence when her father Richard was vice president.

Mary Cheney campaigned for her father and George W. Bush although both held anti-gay positions. The campaigns were connected to marriage ban amendment efforts intended to get conservative voters to the polls, including a 2004 one in Ohio.

During the 2000 campaign, the future vice president and his wife Lynne tried to deny that Mary is lesbian, though it was well known at the time. Mary served as the gay outreach director of the Coors Brewing Company, where her job was to end a boycott of the beer begun by San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and improve the companyís image in the LGBT community.

Cheney and Poe have a two-year-old son. This gave her the opportunity to speak out against religious conservatives and Republican officials pushing policies to harm LGBT families.

One of those Republicans is Portman, making her contribution ironic.

Portman represented the Cincinnati area in the House from 1993 to 2005 when he was tapped to become the Bush administrationís trade representative. He holds the record as Congressí largest-ever recipient of donations from the insurance industry.

Portman has a zero on every Human Rights Campaign scorecard except the 2002 one, where he got a 17 for having a non-discrimination policy in his office.

In 1999, Portman voted to ban adoptions by LGBT people in the District of Columbia. In 2004 he voted for a federal constitutional marriage ban amendment.

In June, Portmanís campaign manager Robert Paduchik told the Columbus Dispatch that Portman still opposes marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Portman will face either Democrat Jennifer Brunner, the current secretary of state, or Lee Fisher, the current lieutenant governor, in 2010.

Brunner unconditionally supports marraige equality, a position she has held publicly since 1989. Fisherís position is more nuanced, though he seems to be moving toward supporting marriage equality as well.

Both Brunner and Fisher have long records of advocating for LGBT equality.




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