The daughter of US Vice President Dick Cheney has given birth to a baby boy. Samuel David Cheney weighted a healthy 8lbs 6oz.

While the 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.

The couple have not disclosed how the baby was conceived, but it is known that Vice President Cheney has always been publicly supportive of his lesbian child.

She played a key role on his campaigns for the second-highest office in the land in 2000 and 2004 and has been with Heather for 15 years.

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

Earlier this year her father told CNN that he was delighted about the imminent birth of his sixth grandchild, and told presenter Wolf Blitzer he was out of order for bringing it up.

Terry Boggis, Director of the Center Kids program at the NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community centre, welcomed the news:

“We welcome Mary Cheney and Heather Poe’s baby into the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family community – one of the 6-14 million children being raised by LGBT people in the United States.

“Though I’m sure they’re not seeking to be a poster family, I hope the high visibility afforded by the Cheney name helps move the American public to a more compassionate and broad appreciation for what families can look like.”

Ms Cheney announced in December 2006 that she was pregnant.

Interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room in January, Mr Cheney was congratulated on the upcoming birth by presenter Wolf Blitzer, who then went on to read out a statement from pressure group Focus on the Family.

“Mary Cheney’s pregnancy raises the question of what’s best for children.

“Just because it’s possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn’t mean it’s best for the child.”

Mr Cheney, 66, was visibly displeased at the attempt to paint his child as a bad role model.

He replied, “I’m delighted. I’m delighted I’m about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren.”

Then he added “And I think, frankly, you’re out of line with that question.”

The presenter hastily attempted to mollify Mr Cheney, saying he felt the question was responsible and fair.

“I just fundamentally disagree with your perspective,” the Vice President replied.

When Presidential candidate John Kerry raised Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation during the 2004 campaign for the White House, her father was reportedly furious.

Mr Cheney has publicly stated that he did not think there was a need for federal intervention to ban same-sex marriages, and has often spoken publicly of his love, admiration and respect for his daughter.

Ms Cheney’s partner Heather often appears with the Vice Presidential family at official and political functions and events.