Jerry Sanders on Civil Rights



Co-chaired "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" effort

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has signed onto the "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" effort. Houston's Annise Parker had previously joined the effort, serving as co-chair. So that's 3 Texas Mayors down, 1,212 to go.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is still refusing to sign onto the pledge, despite a petition with 253 signatures and promises of protests at his upcoming public events.

The group has also added two new co-chairs, San Diego's Jerry Sanders and Boston's Thomas Menino; with New York's Michael Bloomberg, L.A.'s Antonio Villaraigosa and Houston's own Annise Parker. The five-co-chairs issued the following statement: Source: Dallas Voice, "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" , Jan 20, 2012

Supports gay marriage as a Constitutional right

Sanders became a supporter of same-sex marriage in September 2007. 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.
Source: Rex Wockner in Gay & Lesbian Times, "Apologizes" , Aug 12, 2010

Proud to testify for same-sex marriage equality

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. I did so as a Republican mayor, a father, and a former police chief with over 26 years of experience on the force. But I also testified as an American who has seen the effects of discrimination--and who believes that discrimination against anyone, anywhere, is unacceptable.

My thinking on this important issue has evolved significantly in the past few years. Not long ago, I believed that civil unions were an acceptable alternative for same-sex couples. Like many people, I mistakenly thought there was no difference between a civil union and a marriage.

My eyes were opened in 2007, when I had to decide whether to support a ban on same-sex marriage in my capacity as mayor of San Diego. I realized that my position was inconsistent with one of my core principles: that every community deserves to be treated with equal dignity and respect.

Source: Jerry Sanders column in Huffington Post , Jan 22, 2010

2007: Switched from supporting civil unions to marriage

Not long ago, I believed that civil unions were an acceptable alternative for same-sex couples. The irony is that I held this mistaken view about marriage equality even though my oldest daughter, Lisa, is a lesbian.

Running for mayor in 2005, I did not believe that marriage equality was an issue for city governments to address. When I was asked, I said I supported civil unions, believing they were an acceptable compromise on a divisive issue.

In 2007, the City Council challenged California's ban on same-sex marriage. I had 10 days to decide whether to sign or veto the resolution. I was advised that signing the resolution could end my political career, because I would be reversing a position I took as a candidate. [Listening to both sides], I realized that all opposition to same-sex marriage, including my own opposition, was grounded in prejudice. I knew my position was wrong, and that marriage equality was an issue I needed to address as mayor. And I knew I would sign the resolution.

Source: Jerry Sanders column in Huffington Post , Jan 22, 2010

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Other big-city mayors on Civil Rights: Jerry Sanders on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 25, 2021