California | Gay Marriage | News | San Diego

San Diego Mayor Says Daughter is Gay, Reverses Marriage Position

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was expected to veto the resolution passed yesterday by the City Council that urges the California Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage.

SandersSanders, whose position on the issue has been to support civil unions but not same-sex marriage, instead made an emotional shock announcement at a press conference last night. (Full raw press conference video here)

Said the mayor: "Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a 'separate but equal' institution is not something that I can support."

The reason? Sanders' daughter Lisa (middle in photo), is a lesbian. Lisa reportedly told her father that she was gay and in a committed relationship four years ago, and Sanders said he could no longer deny her the rights offered to everyone else in the country.

Sanders_daughtersSaid Sanders: "In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships -- their very lives -- were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana."

MSNBC reports that Sanders said "he thought of friends and members of his staff who are gay" when making his decision: "I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else, simply because of their sexual orientation...I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones. For each of them to find a mate, whom they love deeply and who loves them back. Someone who they can grow old together and share life's experiences."

Sanders is a Republican former police chief.

Jerry Sanders press conference [video]
Sanders Makes Emotional Statement In Support Of Gay Marriage [msnbc]
San Diego Mayor Reverses Objection to Gay Marriage After Daughter 'Comes Out' [ap]

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San Diego City Council Votes to Support Same-Sex Marriage [tr]

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  1. At last a man who puts his "family values" first. Thank you sir.

    Posted by: Rafael | Sep 20, 2007 8:24:03 AM

  2. Good for him....A republican going against his party? Looks as though he may be a canidate for JFKs Profile in Courage award.

    Posted by: Paul | Sep 20, 2007 8:26:49 AM

  3. Good for him, and thanks go to her daughter for being out and proud.

    Posted by: Rob (lrdarystar) | Sep 20, 2007 8:39:14 AM

  4. At first I was critical with how he would change his mind so quickly and thought something was up (I guess I'm bitter), but after watching the video, I saw how geniune his feelings are on this.

    How do we write to him to show our support? As Rafael said, finally a man who puts his family values first.

    Posted by: gabriel | Sep 20, 2007 8:43:10 AM

  5. Cool

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Sep 20, 2007 8:43:23 AM

  6. See everyone. Not all Republicans are evil.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 20, 2007 8:43:38 AM

  7. Please feel free to show the Mayor your gratitude for his openness and honesty. You know he will get many emails from the wingnuts, let's try and equal that out.

    Mayor Jerry Sanders
    (619) 236-6330

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 20, 2007 8:56:28 AM

  8. That's 1 out of 10,000, Matt... How do you like those odds?

    Posted by: Kyle | Sep 20, 2007 9:27:53 AM

  9. It's very nice to see a change of heart like this... but why does it always have to happen only when it hits home? It seems its only when it begins effecting people they care about or personally know that suddenly equal rights matter...

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 20, 2007 9:41:58 AM

  10. Thanks Andrew!

    Posted by: gabriel | Sep 20, 2007 9:43:04 AM

  11. It would be nice, for once, just to see a politican change their mind on this issue simply because its the right thing to do.

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 20, 2007 9:43:11 AM

  12. To me, it doesn't matter what made him change his mind. What matters is that he did change it, and then had the resolve to announce his new position to his constituents.

    Posted by: Brooklynite | Sep 20, 2007 10:01:03 AM

  13. Though it is frustrating when politicos only have a change of heart when issues "hit home," it serves to remind me that I have to make sure that everyone who cares about me knows where I stand on these issues so they can vote accordingly--that a vote against gay marriage is a vote against me.

    Posted by: John | Sep 20, 2007 10:02:11 AM

  14. I just watched the entire statement and it was very...Human, wich is rare for a politician. Very emotionnal...

    I really admire his courage , especially , if you go on NBC site to watch the video, considering the comments that some people put. Some bigots always have to spit their venom wherever they can.

    Posted by: taz389 london | Sep 20, 2007 10:15:38 AM

  15. I like them better than 0 in 10,000, Kyle. I think it is just human nature for people to change their minds when issues hit home. My parents weren't exactly gay friendly until I came out to them.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 20, 2007 10:28:16 AM

  16. I had a chance to work with Mr. Sanders and always thought he was a very VERY Nice guy!

    Posted by: Fabrice | Sep 20, 2007 10:29:26 AM

  17. Just more evidence of a rabidly turning tide which will be too overwhelming for Focus on the Family or the American Family Association or Concerned "Women" of America or the Traditional Families Coalition or the Republican Party or any other group in Hee Haw land to stop.

    Grab your boards boys and girls, surf's up!

    Congratulations Mr. Mayor, and welcome to the 21st Century.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 20, 2007 10:31:17 AM

  18. Mr. Mayor,

    I am a 44 year old gay Canadian man, raised by a Lutheran minister who never came to understand or accept me before he passed away a few years ago. I saw your story and press conference on the internet this morning and I wept while I watched.

    You should be very proud of yourself for doing the right thing and being honest with your constituents. While I am Canadian, I live my life more than fully aware of the goings on south of our border. On a daily basis I feel the impact of the culture and politics of a population 10 times the size of ours.

    We won the right for gay marriage in Canada years ago, our courts recognizing that "separate" can never be "equal". It is time for this fact to be recognized in your country as well. One day your grandchildren and their children will proudly talk about your bravery in the face of bigotry... and about how you were not afraid to say and do the right thing.

    All the best to you and your family.

    Posted by: Taylor | Sep 20, 2007 10:37:01 AM

  19. Wow, I just watched the video (I read the transcript last night). What a passionate and heartfelt statement! The mayor brought me to tears (something that is hard to do).

    This video clip needs to be sent to the Governor as example of how a Republican leader, ever one who has previously stated publicly his opposition to marriage equality and even one who has already pledged to veto a statement for marriage equality, can stand up courageously and with honor and change his mind.

    I encourage everyone to send hearfelt thanks to the Mayor and I encourage everyone, especially Californians, to contact the Governor's office and encourage the Governor to take the same courageous stand for fairness and equality.

    By the way, when I read this in the online edition of a San Diego newspaper last night, I was stunned to see that 95%+ of the comments about the article were calling for impeachment of the mayor and recall of the city council. The comments were vicious and extremely homophobic. This mayor and the council members who voted for this resolution are going to need all the support they can get. It's time to get off of our collective lazy asses and get as riled up as the fundies are on this issue. Trust me, they are making the calls and sending the emails; the question is, WILL WE?

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 20, 2007 10:46:00 AM

  20. Alan Keyes should get in conntact with Jerry.

    Posted by: marco | Sep 20, 2007 10:47:18 AM

  21. Damn TAYLOR enough already! You've got me crying like a baby again!!!

    In all honesty TAYLOR, that was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 20, 2007 10:48:55 AM

  22. Well, Matt - let's see how the long the Repuglicunts continue supporting this guy as one of their own. He'll soon be ostracized for not toeing the party line. Good for him!

    Posted by: Gregg | Sep 20, 2007 11:12:14 AM

  23. Just caught my typo above.

    How embarrassing!

    Make that the "rapidly" instead of "'rabidly' turning tide".

    Yes, sometimes I foam at the mouth over this issue but I assure you it's out of indignation and not rabies. :)

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 20, 2007 11:51:30 AM

  24. I sent an email... I hope you will too.

    Yes, he'll likely be ostracized... but the important thing is that Republicans in positions of local power have begun to experience something amazing... at least in this case, they have begun to think for themselves. The more we can encourage this, the sooner the religious right's reign of terror over that once respectable party will end.

    Email him. Now.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 20, 2007 12:11:59 PM

  25. how encouraging to hear :)

    if only there were republicans in higher positions, say the vice presidency, who might have a gay son or daughter and have the same change of beliefs...

    Posted by: Alex | Sep 20, 2007 12:17:19 PM

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