The Cheney gay-marriage split mirrors the GOP's

The intra-family squabble captures the spectrum of the gay marriage debate in America: there’s a gay married couple; a GOP candidate seeking to bolster her socially conservative credentials; and an establishment Republican, Dick Cheney, who has broken with the base [and for that matter Liz Cheney] by going on record in support of gay marriage.

Republican strategist Whit Ayres said the Cheney clash is “symptomatic” of America’s divide on gay marriage.

“Everybody has been reconsidering their view on this issue,” he said. “It doesn’t mean everybody has changed their minds, but a great many people have reconsidered their views. When a couple as rock-ribbed conservative as Dick and Lynne Cheney can have a gay daughter; a former chair of the RNC [Ken Mehlman] announces he is gay, that makes a great many people—even very conservative people—take a second look at the issue.”

Kristen Soltis Anderson, a GOP pollster who supports gay marriage, said in an email that gay marriage is not a litmus test for Republicans, “even in a Republican primary,” because economic issues are foremost in voters’ minds. What could cause problems for Cheney, she said, is if the recent developments steal the spotlight.

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