The Lament of the Gay Cherokee Reservation Indian

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The Cherokee Nation has "put skids on gay marriage," according to the Associated Press, with Principal Chief Chad Smith saying he'll sign a measure that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. About a month ago, a lesbian couple had applied for and gotten approval to get married under Cherokee law. Because nation laws are not retroactive, that union may stand (it's not fully clear from the AP account).

Meanwhile, the Washington Times, which sadly, hilariously insists putting "gay marriage" in scare quotes, seems worried that Dick Cheney is going squishy on the issue:

Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that homosexual couples should have equal freedom under the law and reiterated his 2000 campaign stance that states should have the right to decide what constitutes marriage.

While Mr. Cheney did not unequivocally support President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage," he expressed support for the president's prerogative to set policy.

"My own preference is as I've stated. But the president makes basic policy for the administration. And he's made it clear that he does, in fact, support a constitutional amendment on this issue."

Could Cheney's faint attempt at independence, which came at a campaign stop in Iowa, be a response to Reason's suspicion that the much-feared vice president is actually the ultimate Yes Man? Perhaps future historians of gay marriage–er, "gay marriage"–will tell.

While history unfolds, you can read Reason's fascinating 1999 account of cronyism, Clintonism, and corruption in the Cherokee Nation here (spoiler: no gay marriage or sex in this story; just very disturbing activity by the loathsome Bureau of Indian Affairs).

NEXT: Who's Fair and Balanced?

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  1. Is it so hard to imagine that the VP is in a difficult situation–having a personal opinion on a hot-button issue that differs with his boss, the President–and that his vaguely contradictory public pronouncements on the subject reflect this?

    To make a really crude analogy–I work in a medium-sized (14 people) academic research lab. There are papers that have come out of our lab, the theoretical interpretation of which I do not personally share with the authors (my colleagues and boss)…however, I have to be careful in discussing those disagreements in any public forum, because it’s just bad form for me to publically argue with my boss (we argue privately all the time…it’s part of the process).

    This doesn’t preclude me from having my own opinions, it’s just not my place to publicly undermine the guy who pays my salary.

  2. Given the fact that Cheney’s own daughter is a lesbian (yes, she is), maybe he had a change of heart? Or, maybe it was his wife’s soft-porn, ‘romance’ novels (several contain lesbian sexual encounters) she is so famous for writing that have enlightened ol’ Dick?

  3. third or fourth gender?

    Speaking as a part Cherokee–and I doubt anyone can speak as a full-blooded one–one can only hope. (Speaking of parts, naughty bits, etc.)

  4. Given the fact that Cheney’s own daughter is a lesbian (yes, she is), maybe he had a change of heart? Or, maybe it was his wife’s soft-porn, ‘romance’ novels (several contain lesbian sexual encounters) she is so famous for writing that have enlightened ol’ Dick?

  5. I really hope the gay marriage issue doesn’t become a major focus of the Rep party platform especially when they’re going to try and put on this moderate face.

  6. “Third or fourth” gender refers to gays and lesbians, or “berdaches”. (That’s an outside link, just like the one above. Sorry, I forgot to mention that that link above was an outside link. To Amazon.) In some tribes they were accepted members of the community and performed roles such as midwives and spiritual leaders.

  7. If something is “on the skids” or “on skids”, doesn’t that mean it’s going quickly? It seems like they meant “brakes”, which are pretty much the opposite of “skids”…

  8. Mr. Nice Guy writes:
    Hmmmmmmm.. maybe this is an election year ploy? Maybe to prop the Bush ticket up again as the “compassionate conservatives”?

    I don’t think so. If that were the case, then Cheney wouldn’t have made such a point of Dubya’s less tolerant position. Besides, Cheney’s image is such that he’s hardly going to appeal to fans of compassionate conservatism, support for “states’ rights” or not. Maybe he’s just having a tough time telling his daughter why she shouldn’t be allowed to marry the woman of her choice.

  9. Ron Hardin,

    I’m against gay marriage because it’s uncurious about what marriage is; that is, the word means something and it’s worth finding out what, before taking it over.

    Word definitions change quite frequently; somehow being forever imprisoned by how the term has been used in the seems silly to me. Also, your statement implies an argument from tradition; yet tradition alone is hardly a reason to stay in some sort of stasis.

    What it means relates to something unsayable today, that men and women have different interests, and these come together in marriage. That can’t be analyzed today without hysteria because “discredited” stereotypes are triggered, but nevertheless continues.

    Why shouldn’t individuals be able to decide these matters on their own without you (or the government) dictating what marraige should mean to the individuals involved?

  10. Hey! You talkin’ ta me, Lonewacko?
    I had already linked to the book on Amazon.

    “Berdaches?”
    I’m jiggy with the concept, while, I, personally, am, as we Indians say, straight as a bow.
    You didn’t know we said that, did you, paleface?

    (I’ll never be able to go back to Oklahoma.)

  11. I mean, Lonewacko, when we’re talkin’ gender, we’re ultimately talkin’ naughty bits, eh?
    Keep talkin’, Silvertongue…

  12. Waitasec.. I thought the evil bald man backed off the “states’ rights” stance in favor of the amendment. Now he’s back again??

    Hmmmmmmm.. maybe this is an election year ploy? Maybe to prop the Bush ticket up again as the “compassionate conservatives”?

    “(Cheney’s) comments drew criticism from the conservative Family Research Council, with President Tony Perkins saying: “I find it hard to believe the vice president would stray from the administration’s position on defense policy or tax policy. For many pro-family voters, protecting traditional marriage ranks ahead of the economy and job creation as a campaign issue.”

    Blocking gay marriage is more important to these people then the economy?? Jesus fucking Christ..

  13. maybe it’s “gay marriage” because “secret homosexual agenda to seduce our families into leather-clad clusterfucking” takes too long to say.

    besides, isn’t the washington times owned by the moonies? (scientology for republicans?)

  14. I’m against gay marriage because it’s uncurious about what marriage is; that is, the word means something and it’s worth finding out what, before taking it over.

    What it means relates to something unsayable today, that men and women have different interests, and these come together in marriage. That can’t be analyzed today without hysteria because “discredited” stereotypes are triggered, but nevertheless continues.

    That might be one of the forces that results in scare quotes on marriage, a genuine reservation that is not afraid of gay sex but something else.

    I had to quote “discredited,” because that’s what’s in question, and it would produce the opposite meaning otherwise. Similarly with marriage to its opponents, although I am happy to move the battle into another word instead.

  15. “besides, isn’t the washington times owned by the moonies? (scientology for republicans?)”?

    Yes, indeed. The social conservatives who read that rag can take confort that they get their “news” from a guy who calls himself the next messiah. I feel dirty for reading the Washington Post, but as far as I’m concerned there is no alternative.

  16. BTW – “confort” means “false comfort”. I never make typoos. 🙂

  17. Cherokees are “my” tribe so thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    It reminds me Cherokees were divided about the Civil War. (There was a serious, dangerous division.)
    I’d like to see a poll of their opinions of gay marriage. I’m hopeful they would be more tolerant than the majority population.

  18. I’m sure that an “I supported the FMA before I opposed it” meme will get attached to Dick Cheney and follow him around like a horny puppy any minute now. Why, I bet it’s already happened.

  19. Can he spell FLIP FLOP?

  20. as much as the homophobia thing is used incorrectly, there is more than a few grains of truth in the idea. if you’ve ever had the misfortune of listening to a preacher go into oddly detailed descriptions of “deviance” you know what i mean. in porn, it’s the norm – in the pulpit, it’s creepy.

    then there’s the underlying issue of the western religious tradition’s general hatred of the body, of sex, of pleasure, of the female in general, etc etc etc etc blah blah blah.

    the moonies are neat, as far as messianic personality cults go.

  21. The WT isn’t using scare quotes when it quotes homosexual “marriage”. It’s using “so-called” quotes. It’s denying that gay marriage is possible. The Robert P. George position.

  22. Odd, all the illiterate posters who persist in calling this a flip flop, or anything. Cheney said the same thing in 2000.

    This is much more a case of a Vice President deferring to the President, even on issues of some disagreement. Happens all the time, of course.

  23. Part of fiduciary responsibility as a board member is the non-contradiction and support of board decision, even when one personally disagrees and voted against. Cheney probably transferred that subordinate functionary perspective from the corporate boardroom to the administration.

  24. Ruthless,

    As far as I can tell, “full-blooded Cherokee” is an almost meaningless term.

    “Full-blooded,” for the U.S. government’s purposes, is simply a legal term referring to those who are descended from people classified as full-blooded in the 1830s. But by then, the Five Civilized Tribes had already intermarried with whites and blacks so much that a “full-blooded” Cherokee might well have had less than half his genetic material from Cherokee ancestors.

    I think I’m about 1/32 Cherokee myself, as are most people whose families have been in western Arkansas for a few generations.

  25. Kevin Carson,
    And “full-blooded” doesn’t seem pc nowadays anyhow, does it?
    The key is for us all to cherish our varied heritages.

  26. Fodderstompf (dig the name):

    I personally have a hard time believing that anything is spontaneous, that pretty much everything that comes out these politician’s mouths is pre-determined and scripted.

    This allows the Bush ticket to have it both ways. On one hand, Bush is on record supporting the amendment, to appease the inbred, ignorant human shitpiles who apparently think straight-only marriage is more important then the economy. (I would even venture a guess that, at heart, Bush is more tolerant). On the other hand, Cheney offers a much more enlightened viewpoint as a wink to those who know better. This may be even an overture to the Log Cabin Republicans, who they’ve been pissing off lately.

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