Thursday, September 20, 2007

San Diego Mayor Reverses Stand on Gay Marriage

San Diego Mayor Reverses Stand, Now Supports Gay Marriage
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 20, 2007 - 12:01 am ET
(San Diego, California) The mayor of the nation's eighth-largest city abruptly reversed his public opposition to same-sex marriage late Wednesday after revealing that his adult daughter is a lesbian.
Mayor Jerry Sanders signed a City Council resolution supporting a legal fight to overturn California's prohibition on same-sex marriage. He had previously said he would veto the resolution. (story)
Sanders, a former police chief and a Republican, told reporters that he could no longer support the position he took during his mayoral campaign two years ago, when he said he favored civil unions but not full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
"Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative," he said at a news conference. "Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a 'separate but equal' institution is not something that I can support."
He fought back tears as he said that he wanted his adult daughter, Lisa, and other gay people he knows to have their relationships protected equally under state laws. His daughter was not at the news conference.
"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," Sanders said.
The mayor, who is up for re-election next year, acknowledged that many voters who supported his earlier stance may disagree, but he said he had to do what he believed was right.
Lisa Sanders was unavailable for comment, said the mayor's spokesman, Fred Sainz. She told her parents four years ago that she is a lesbian and is in a committed relationship, but her orientation wasn't public until her father's speech, Sainz said.
The City Council on Tuesday voted 5-3 to join other California cities in supporting a challenge to a ban on same-sex marriage that is pending before the state Supreme Court. The court is expected to rule next year on whether to uphold a lower court decision that found the ban constitutional.
The lawsuits grew out of the high court's decision to invalidate marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples who flocked to San Francisco in 2004, after Mayor Gavin Newsom instructed city officials to allow the couples to wed.
Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Jose and Santa Cruz are among cities that have already filed briefs in favor of same-sex marriage.
On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would veto a bill, approved by legislators last week, redefining marriage as a civil contract between two people. (story)
He said he would not reconsider his position and vowed to keep vetoing similar measures unless voters overturned a measure against gay marriage that 61 percent of them endorsed in 2000.
Schwarzenegger has until Oct. 14 to act on the measure

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