The daughter of US Vice President Dick Cheney has spoken publicly about her pregnancy, calling her child a blessing from God.

While the imminent birth of a grandchild for Mr Cheney would not at first seem a matter of public controversy, Mary Cheney is gay.

Conservative and Christian groups have questioned whether Ms Cheney and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, will make suitable parents.

“When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most popular decision,” said Ms Cheney, speaking at a panel discussion at a New York college.

“This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.”

37-year-old Ms. Cheney is also a vice president: of consumer advocacy at internet giant AOL.

The baby is due in spring and neither its sex nor how it was conceived has not been disclosed.

In this month’s Time magazine, James Dobson from Focus on the Family wrote an article hostile to gay parents, calling them a social experiment.

“The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy, any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl,” he said.

Ms Cheney commented: “Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment,” says the New York Times.

Vice President Cheney has always been publicly supportive of his younger daughter.