Former US Vice President Dick Cheney has said gay Americans should have the right to get married.

Addressing the National Press Club Mr Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, said that freedom “means freedom for everyone”.

“People ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish,” he added.

“I do believe, historically, the way marriage has been regulated is at a state level. It’s always been a state issue, and I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today.”

In May 2007 Mary Cheney gave birth to a baby boy. Samuel David Cheney weighted a healthy 8lbs 6oz.

Conservative and Christian groups questioned whether Ms Cheney and her partner of 17 years, Heather Poe, would make suitable parents.

Mary Cheney played a key role on her father’s campaigns for the second-highest office in the land in 2000 and 2004.

The 39-year-old is also a vice president, of consumer advocacy at internet giant AOL.