AP writer Lisa Leff reports on Mayor Jerry Sanders’ testimony in the Prop 8 trial in the mayor’s hometown newspaper, The San Diego Union-Tribune:
The mayor of San Diego testified Tuesday that his views on same-sex marriage evolved after he learned one of his daughters was a lesbian.
Mayor Jerry Sanders took the witness stand on behalf of two same-sex couples suing to overturn Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved gay marriage ban.
“I had been prejudiced,” he said. “I was saying one group of people did not deserve the same respect, did not deserve the same symbolism of marriage, and I was saying their marriages were less important than those of heterosexuals.”
During Sanders’ testimony this morning, the video of the Republican mayor’s reversal of his position on marriage equality was played.
During an emotion-laden press conference in 2007, Sanders revealed that several members of his staff and his daughter, Lisa, are gay. Said the Mayor, “In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships ‚Äî their very lives ‚Äî were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife, Rana.”
When San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera asked Sanders why he was so emotional in the video, Sanders replied, “I felt I came very close to making a bad decision. I came very close to showing the prejudice I obviously had toward my daughter to my staff and to the people of San Diego.”
“If government tolerates discrimination against anyone it is very easy for citizens to do the same thing,” said Sanders.
Pro-Prop 8 attorney Brian Raum seemed intent on convincing Sanders that his earlier position in support of civil unions was not a hostile one and didn’t communicate hatred toward the LGBT community ‚Äî the crux of the trial.
Sanders replied, “I feel like my thoughts were grounded in prejudice, but I don’t feel like I communicated hatred.”
In March 2009, during the city’ Eve of Justice rally the night before the California Supreme Court began considering Proposition 8, Mayor Saunders announced the engagement of his daughter, Lisa Sanders, to her partner, Meaghan Yaple. They were married by a justice of the peace in Vermont last December.