Below is a moving statement from the Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, who not only came out in favor of the right for gays and lesbians to marry (he had supported civil unions/domestic partnership only), he took the step of doing so in a very public way.
On Wednesday Sanders added his signature to a resolution passed by the San Diego City Council that directs the City Attorney to file a brief in support of marriage equality. He passionately described his evolution to support full marriage rights is based on the simple conclusion — “separate but equal” is wrong. He also disclosed that his daughter is gay.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Gay Marriage Resolution September 19, 2007
With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana
I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.
My plan, as has been reported publicly, was to veto that resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans an explanation for this change of heart. · During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.
I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinion on this issue has evolved significantly — as I think have the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life. · In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position. · The arrival of the resolution — to sign or veto — in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do.
I have decided to lead with my heart — to do what I think is right –and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.
More after the jump.
· For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community.
· As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage — than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation.
· A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years.
· I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that's natural, and certainly it is true in my case.
· 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.
· I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today.
· All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right.
· I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. These folks include my daughter Lisa and her partner, 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 wondrous adventures.
· And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. 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.
· Thank you.
Rex Wockner has photos at his pad.
Arnold Schwarzeneggar's office should be flooded with copies of this speech.