San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders abruptly changed his position on full marriage equality Wednesday, after receiving a resolution from the City Council that he had pledged on Tuesday to veto. The council had voted to join with several other cities in an amicus brief asking the California Supreme Court to overturn discriminatory state law and rule in favor of marriage equality for same sex couples.
In an emotional statement to the press, and with his wife by his side, Sanders explains why he changed his mind when actually faced with vetoing the resolution.
I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in 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.
Sanders’ public position since 2005 has been that civil unions would be a fair compromise, but his view has evolved over time. He now says that “the concept of a ‘separate but equal’ institution is not something I can support.”
I have close family members and friends who are a member of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff.
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 with whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences.
And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn’t look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana.
Sanders launched his reelection campaign yesterday. He does have an opponent, and I’m quite sure that opponent will try to use his courage and honesty against him. As members of our community decide which candidates to support this fall, we have a standard against which to judge, and the bar has been set high. Mayor Sanders, you rock.