"I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said in a speech at the National Press Club. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."Because Cheney is a Republican-- and a very influential one amidst a party that generally opposes gay marriage-- his remarks will be a rallying cry for the gay rights movement.
Cheney, who has a gay daughter, said marriage has always been a state issue.
"And I think that's the way it ought to be handled today, that is, on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don't have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that," he said.
Cheney's comment is astounding because it's a cart blanche call for any kind of sexual union. Polygamy, multiple marriages, unions between adults and children, near relative with near relative, swinger marriages, etc. Because "any union they wish" means... well... any imaginable arrangement.
Yes, people are free to do whatever they want. But whether they should do whatever they want is the debate of ethics and morality, and society's codifying that behavior is a matter of law. As precious freedom is, freedom is rightfully limited by society through the making of laws. And in the realm of sexual ethics, society is right to limit marriage to one man and one woman. For the Christian, Jesus Christ calls us to respond to his saving grace by willingly limiting our freedom. We are to practice self-control, deny ourselves, and pursue God-defined holiness (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 12:1-13).
Politically, our society is unlikely to soon adopt an "anything goes" arrangement regarding marriage. But philosophically, Cheney's call for absolute sexual freedom was surprising and incredibly misguided.