Will Mary’s child be left behind?

This Christmas season turned into a holiday embarrassment for the Bush administration with the news that Vice President Dick Cheney’s expected grandchild will have two mommies. While Cheney and wife, Lynne, ecstatically welcome the arrival of their sixth grandchild into the family fold, this child’s birth comes at a difficult point along the Republican Party’s timeline.

With a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage — and with the country’s moral values jihadis like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America campaigning on a one-woman, one-man family values platform — Cheney must now realize how he and his boss will have to play a profound role in both the political disenfranchisement and the social stigmatization of his grandchild. And with the GOP rhetoric of no child left behind, this grandchild will be.

Bereft of the same state and federal protections and rights that children born to heterosexual couples enjoy, this child, because of the legal restrictions imposed on the family unit, is forced to be born to an unwed mother. But the bastardization of this child will go beyond the pejorative sting and social stigmatization of both mother and child; it will be the day-to-day treatment of them as an illegitimate family, a shared guilt and shame imposed on them by their grandfather’s government.

The Christmas season is a time of remembering the Nativity narrative, of reflecting on how Jesus’ birth was born of struggle in a conservatively recalcitrant political era, and that the struggle during Jesus’ time was also for acceptance at a difficult point along the Roman government timeline.

There was no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn. Similarly, there is no room for a child like Mary Cheney’s baby in the state of Virginia. The laws in that state not only deny same-sex families the right to marry, but also the right to a civil union and shared rights and equal responsibilities for children in their household. With the oldest fundamental right to establish a home and to direct the upbringing of your children denied solely on parents’ sexual orientation, it desecrates the wonderfully different and diverse configurations of the human family.

While the news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is an embarrassment for the GOP, the real embarrassment are themselves. Cheney’s pregnancy is — symbolically and in reality — the pregnant pause the Republican Party needs to face.

Published in The Metro, January 4th, 2007.

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