US Vice-President Dick Cheney has been applauded by gay campaigners for his attitude towards his lesbian daughter’s pregnancy.

Mr Cheney’s office released a statement last week describing him and his wife as “looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild” amid reports that their daughter Mary is having a baby with her partner of 15 years Heather Poe.

The US Administration has ignored criticism from Christian groups over the pregnancy.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, praised Mr Cheney for putting his family first.

He said: “In the past, we’ve been very critical of the vice president for putting politics before the needs of his own family.

“This expression of real family values is in sharp contrast to those from groups who make a living supposedly safeguarding them. Apparently these would-be theocrats are pro-family and pro-life, except when the baby has two mums.

“We congratulate Mary Cheney and her partner and wish them the very best in growing their family and bringing a child into the world. They will be joining the thousands of lesbian- and gay-headed households raising children in the United States.

The couple have been warned by campaigners that they will not be given equal parenting rights in their home state of Virginia, where gay couples are not allowed to adopt.

Mr Foreman said: “Unlike most same-sex couples, Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are a family of some economic means and they will be able to hire lawyers and create some legal protections for their family. Sadly, because it is unclear whether Virginia permits second-parent adoptions.

“Heather may be a legal stranger to her child unless they move out of Virginia. It is ironic and sad that Dick Cheney’s own daughter, ‘daughter-in-law’ and grandchild will be disadvantaged by anti-gay family laws championed by the Bush-Cheney administration.”