ColumnsWhat A World

What A World: One Brave Mother

Another open letter to Mary Cheney.

Dear Mary,

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I haven’t written to you since your dad had that third (fourth? fifth?) heart attack a few years ago. And then we were in touch following that whole mess, when thousands of us wrote to you asking how you could possibly work for a political party that so blatantly discriminates against you and Heather.

So I wanted to drop you another line, Mary, to offer my best wishes on your recently announced whole-grain, gluten-free bun in the oven.

Mary, Mary, Mary…. So many questions: Did you and Heather Poe, your partner of 15 years, use one of those baby-making catalogues, restricting your choice of sperm to a sharer who espoused conservative values on their vitae vials? Who is the baby daddy donor? What did you do with all those unused stem cells?

Rumors abound, with most punch lines including references to David Crosby, indisputably a famous lesbian’s first choice for fathers hailing from an undisclosed location. I can envision you flipping through the catalogue, picking, choosing… “Hmm. May we see something a little blonder, perhaps something in a Stephen Stills?”

Who would be surprised if Baby Cheney were to pop out looking like Ken Mehlman?

We hope you were careful in making your selection. We now know all-too-well that even the most evan of evangelicals might secretly have a Haggard in the woodpile.

You were wise to conceive by any means necessary before you moved to Virginia. I was rather surprised that you chose to move your family there; Virginia doesn’t exactly welcome same-sex parents with open bassinettes.

Did you know Virginia’s surrogacy agreements are permitted for married couples only? And Mary, regardless of your 15-year relationship with Heather, you’re not married. You’re just not.

It was just this past November that Virginia voters passed legislation similar to Texas’ infamous Proposition 2, prohibiting legal recognition of “marriage-like” agreements between anyone other than two adults of the opposite sex. That means your daughter, so long as your family lives in Virginia, will never receive the protections of marriage afforded your sister Elizabeth, her husband, and their five children. Never.

Further, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s data, while Virginia allows single GLBT people to adopt, it is unclear whether a person can adopt his or her same-sex partner’s adopted child.

So while your parents will no doubt once again enjoy the designation of grandparents in the eyes of the Lord and the law, Heather’s parents will have the privilege of anticipating nothing more than the birth of a child to their daughter’s “good friend.” You might want to consider that as you open their shower gift.

And how ’bout your baby’s five cousins? Will they be raised to believe that their new cousin has but one parent plus some unidentified woman who always seems to be hanging around? Will they defend your daughter on the playground when she is taunted for not having governmentally sanctioned male and female parents, like themselves?

Even George W. Bush himself weighed in on your blessed event, saying he believes you would be “a loving soul” to your child, and that he’s happy for you.

What W didn’t say (out loud) was, “However, many people in this country are of the opinion that two lesbians having a baby are blazing a trip to hell. Fortunately, with Mary Cheney’s help, I was able to turn those opinions into votes. Now where’s my helmet? I wanna ride my bike.”

Do you ever wonder who will tell your child that you yourself worked to help keep families like your own marginalized by federal law?

But enough of this political folderol and fiddle-dee-dee. Your baby is on her way, and you have far more important things on your mind than her future civil rights.

Where are you registered for baby gifts? I bet you’re already receiving all kinds of goodies to stock the nursery –Coors Silver Bullet plush toys from former co-workers from when you were the brewery’s consultant on gay and lesbian affairs. A silver spoon forged in the shape of a foot from George and Barbara Bush. A buckshot-proof bib, in case Grampa Dick ever baby-sits.

Have you thought about a name yet? Whatever you choose, I suggest you stay away from the name Janie. It would be far too tempting for Jon Stewart or Keith Olbermann to announce her arrival by singing (wait for it, wait for it), “Janie Janie Poe-Cheney, fanana bana bo banie, mi my mo manie. Janie!”

Anyway, I just wanted to wish you and Heather the best on your news. I’m sure you’ll make great parents. If not, maybe you could convince Madonna to swoop in with a camera crew and adopt her. After all, she has a husband.


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