The Huffington Post published a thoughtful and moving piece today written by incumbent San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders. Sanders testified on behalf of marriage equality earlier this week during the contentious Prop 8 legal hearings in San Francisco. Sanders, a former proponent of civil unions, not full marriage equality, stated “I was proud to testify this week in what I believe will soon be seen as one of the defining civil rights cases of our time, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.”
Proposition 8 supporters argue that Sanders allowed his personal life to permeate into his job as Mayor, since his daughter Lisa is a lesbian. They contend that he played politics by switching his opinion on the matter after winning the mayoral race in 2005. Supporters of Sanders defend him referencing his re-election as Mayor in 2008, which occurred after he had publicly reversed his decision on the issue.
In the article, Sanders elaborates on why he made this pivotal change, and the obligation he felt to take the issue public, despite anger and heated criticism he faced by those in favor of the proposition. A former police officer, Sanders explained that, “one of my core principles as a police officer and as mayor, which is that every community deserves to be treated with equal dignity and respect.”
Sanders goes on to say that, “the defendants in this case — those who would deny equal rights to others — would like us to believe that they are the true victims of discrimination. They argue that their opposition to marriage equality has made them targets of violence. They’ve made this argument as their excuse for withholding documents from the public, and it is as self-serving as it is inaccurate.”
The Mayor discusses his experiences in law enforcement and the high level of violence subjected upon gays and lesbians that he witnessed during his time as a cop. “In my own city, there have been terrible hate crimes committed against gays and lesbians…” As aforementioned, Prop 8 denizens have long contended the opposite, stating that they are the ones subject to threats and violence because of the position they have taken defending their definition of marriage. Sanders rebuttals, “I can say that the overwhelming evidence is that violence is directed against gays and lesbians, not those who would deny them equality.”
Another important and valued allegiance has been formed in the battle for equal rights, helping place one more stone in the path to a future without discrimination.
Sander’s full article can be read here.