Press Room

January 13, 2004


HRC Urges Vice President to Counsel President Against Constitutional Marriage Ban

Cheney Restates Position that States Should Decide Marriage Law: "That was my view then. That's my view now"

WASHINGTON - According to an article published in the Jan. 9 Rocky Mountain News, Vice President Cheney said he would support whatever decision the administration comes to on the proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently ban marriage by same-sex couples, but he also reaffirmed his belief that this issue is better left to the states. The Human Rights Campaign today urged the Vice President to counsel the administration against supporting an amendment that would permanently deny any state the ability to make its own policy in this area.

"We are your sons, your daughters, your brothers, your sisters. Our nation's Constitution was written to protect all of us - to write discrimination into it is never appropriate," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "On an issue of such magnitude, we urge the Vice President - in his role as advisor to the president - to strongly advocate for the position he reaffirmed this weekend."

According to a transcript of the interview, Cheney told the Denver Rocky Mountain News: "What I said in 2000 was that the question of whether or not some sort of status, legal status or sanction ought to be granted in the case of a relationship between two individuals of the same sex was historically a matter the states had decided and resolved, and that is the way I preferred it," Cheney told the Denver Rocky Mountain News. "At this stage, obviously, the president is going to have to make a decision in terms of what administration policy is on this particular provision, and I will support whatever decision he makes."

During the 2000 vice presidential debates, Cheney said: "I think the fact of the matter, of course, [same-sex relationship recognition] is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area. οΎƒ I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into."

"In 2000 and again this weekend, the Vice President made remarkably clear that this amendment runs contrary to conservative principles of lawmaking. He is not alone. The Vice President's beliefs are shared by other well-known conservatives, including George Will and Bob Barr," added Jacques.
In partnership with conservative and state groups, HRC launched an ad campaign today highlighting conservative opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. Print and radio ads quote well-known conservatives George Will, former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, among others, all voicing opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment (H.J.Res.56/S.J.Res.26). For more information, visit: Or read the press release.