The fight over gay marriage isn't going away within Republican Party.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Liz and Mary Cheney, daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney, are engaged in a nasty and increasingly public dispute over Liz's opposition to same-sex marriage, a position she's taken while running for Senate in Wyoming. Mary, a lesbian, is married to another woman and consequently has not been shy about criticizing her sister's opposition.
"What amazes me is that she says she's running to be a new generation of leader," Mary Cheney told the Times. "I'm not sure how sticking to the positions of the last 20 or 30 years is the best way to do that."
Liz Cheney, in an e-mail to the newspaper, said that she loved her family and has always "tried to be compassionate towards them.:
Liz's political calculus is clear: Running as an insurgent conservative against a popular incumbent Republican, Sen. Michael Enzi, she can't afford to look moderate. And even as the broader public grows more accepting of gay marriage, Republicans, and especially social conservatives, remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. Candidates like Liz Cheney who want to position themselves as a conservative du jour must still oppose the measure -- even if it makes family reunions especially awkward.
As Gallup reported in July, 66 percent of Republicans said they would oppose making gay marriage legal in all 50 states (nearly an identical number of conservatives said the same). Among those who attend church weekly, the number rises to 73 percent.
The cross pressures of primary voters and the general public are sure to put GOP candidates in a bind for the next several elections. Although opposing gay marriage won't hurt the Republican nominee in Wyoming, it will in battleground Senate states like Virginia and New Hampshire. And most distressing for the GOP, it could harm whoever ends up capturing the party's presidential nominee in 2016.