In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) claimed to have turned a page on her previous homophobia, saying that she now supports LGBTQ people — but just months ago, she voted against legislation that would expand LGBTQ protections.
Cheney said “I was wrong” about her opposition to gay marriage in the 2010s, a departure from her previous position on the matter. In 2013, she stated that she believed in the “traditional definition of marriage.” As the Los Angeles Times said in 2014, the statements, made while Cheney was running for the Wyoming senate, very publicly “sold out” her sister, who is gay. Cheney alluded to her homophobia again in 2016, saying “my views on [gay marriage] are clear.”
Cheney held these discriminatory beliefs despite the fact that her sister is gay and married her partner in 2012 — and the fact that her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, came out in support of marriage equality around the same time.
She also said on “60 Minutes” that she wants to work to ensure transgender people in the U.S. are safe.
“This is an issue that we have to recognize, you know, as human beings — that we need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state,” she said.
But Cheney voted against a federal law that would prohibit discrimination against transgender people just months ago.
In February, Cheney voted no in a House vote on the Equality Act, a landmark piece of legislation that would enshrine and expand rights for LGBTQ people. The bill would add protections against discrimination in areas like housing, health care and education, expanding upon last year’s Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia decision.
The Equality Act passed the House 224 to 206. Cheney’s no vote fell in line with the vast majority of the rest of the GOP, though three Republicans broke with the party and voted yes. The bill hasn’t yet been taken up in the Senate, where it would likely fail due to GOP opposition and longstanding anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
Though her claims that she now supports the LGBTQ community are dubious, Cheney has gotten positive spin from the press anyway. On Monday, large news outlets like The Washington Post and NBC blared headlines touting her supposed support of gay marriage.
Progressives pointed out Cheney’s hypocrisy in tweets on Sunday. “In February, Liz Cheney voted against the Equality Act, which would finally enshrine protections for the LGBTQ+ community in federal antidiscrimination law,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-New York).
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) criticized “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl for not pressing Cheney on the issue. Some interviewers “would had a follow up and asked why she voted against the Equality Act,” Omar said, “but instead [Cheney] gets to talk all about [transgender] folks deserving safety and everyone having equality without a reckoning on her voting record.”
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