San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders apologised to the city’s gay and lesbian residents this week for not always being a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Sanders appeared as a speaker at the San Diego LGBT Community Center at a celebration of Judge Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8 earlier in the day.
“I’ve been at The Center on some real bad nights,” said Sanders, “I can remember the night I was debating for the first mayors’ 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 apologise to each of you.”
Sanders became a supporter of gay marriage in September 2007, saying he was influenced by his wife, Rana Sampson, openly lesbian then-City Councilwoman Toni Atkins and 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.
Sanders said: “I am so thrilled and honoured to be here…Many of you have spent your entire adult lives fighting for this right, not just the right to marry, but also the right to equality. It has been your courage, it’s been your leadership in the community that has given me the courage to move forward, and I want to thank each and every one of you because I know it’s easy to come out and change so many hearts, and change so many minds.”
In January, Sanders testified for the challengers at the federal Prop 8 trial in San Francisco.