San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders apologizes to gay community
Published Thursday, 12-Aug-2010 in issue 1181
Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders apologized to the city’s gay and lesbian residents Aug. 4 for not having always supported same-sex marriage.
Sanders was speaking at The San Diego LGBT Community Center at a celebration of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s striking down of Proposition 8 earlier in the day.
The rally at The Center followed a march through the gay Hillcrest district by 2,000-3,000 LGBT people cheering Walker’s ruling.
“I’ve been at The Center on some real bad nights,” Sanders said. “I can remember the night I was debating for the first mayor’s race, and it was not a good night. And I think a few of you were clearly irritated with me. And I don’t blame you. I was new to politics and I was trying to dance the dance, and I came to the wrong conclusion on that dance (same-sex marriage), and I want to apologize to each of you.”
A few minutes later, Sanders apologized again through a portable bullhorn to an overflow crowd outside The Center.
Sanders became a supporter of same-sex marriage in September 2007, saying he was influenced by his wife, Rana Sampson, openly lesbian then-City Councilwoman Toni Atkins, openly gay members of his staff, and friends. He also mentioned at the time that his daughter, Lisa, is a lesbian. She has since become a gay activist and, last December, married her girlfriend, Meaghan Yaple, in Vermont.
In January, Sanders testified for the challengers at the federal Prop 8 trial in San Francisco.
In striking down Prop 8 on Aug. 4, Judge Walker said it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law.
Walker said there is no “rational basis” for Prop 8’s existence and that it was inserted into the state’s constitution solely to express “moral disapproval” of gay people.
He blamed pro-Prop 8 campaigners for fueling such disapproval by airing nasty TV ads and distributing material that “relied heavily on negative stereotypes about gays and lesbians and focused on protecting children from inchoate threats vaguely associated with gays and lesbians.”
Prop 8 re-banned same-sex marriage in California in November 2008 after it had been legal for 4 1/2 months. l
Assistance: Bill Kelley