Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mayor Sanders announces lesbian daughter's engagement at gay rally

Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the engagement of his daughter Lisa (middle) and her girlfriend, Meaghan Yaple, at a large gay rally Wednesday afternoon. GLBT people rallied around the state on the eve of the California Supreme Court hearing in the case aimed at overturning Proposition 8.
Speaking outside the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego, Sanders said: "We're on the eve of a momentous occasion, and that's when the Supreme Court has the opportunity ... to do the right thing for everybody in California. ... Many of us have worked for years and years and years to bring justice and enlightenment and equality to every community in San Diego. This battle is obviously one that's personal to each of you. It is personal to me. It's personal to my family. And I think it should be personal to everybody in California. Because when one group starts taking rights away from other groups, it could happen to any group. Defending Proposition 8 threatens the liberties guaranteed by our state constitution. It undermines the fundamental rights that we stand for, and it's been a misuse in the worst way of the initiative process. Proposition 8 puts all minority groups at risk, not just the LGBT community. I don't support separate-but-equal institutions. We're all worthy of the same rights and the same responsibilities, and especially the rights and responsibility that marriage brings. I believe times have changed. ... I think we saw a tremendous change in people's thinking, and I think we'll continue to see that change as people understand that members of their family, coworkers, friends represent every community in our community. And I think that's when we start lending our voice to causes -- when we know people and when we feel strongly about it. I want to thank each of you for your dedication, and I see you all over the city and I see you marching and I see you talking to people, I see you lobbying, I see you doing things that make all of us proud as we go down this road to make sure that everybody is treated equally in the state of California. Now, I want to say (he pauses to gain his composure) -- these are always hard ones for me -- if it didn't involve my daughter and her partner, they wouldn't be hard things, but they became engaged to get married last week (wild cheering and applause), and their families are tremendously proud of them, we're tremendously excited to see two people who are committed to each other and we know will be excellent partners into the future. So this becomes even a more important issue for our family."

Former City Councilwoman Toni Atkins (above), who married her wife, Jennifer LeSar (right), last summer, told the crowd: "I woke up on Sept. 7 fully invested and convinced that it makes a difference (to have gotten married). And for every couple that I talked to throughout that summer, I asked them that question, and almost every single one ... we felt different. And so I say, it makes a difference. We believe this piece of paper matters and we want it to continue to matter and so we urge the Supreme Court to do the right thing and to continue to be strong and to do their job. From the attorney general to the state Legislature to the California Council of Churches, our leaders are asking the Supreme Court to stand up for equality and to overturn Proposition 8." 
San Diego Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee
Former City Council candidate and rally emcee Stephen Whitburn

After the rally, the 600 people in attendance took to the streets of downtown chanting, "Separate church and state." They marched up to the epicenter of downtown, Fourth and Broadway, then back to the Hall of Justice. At the march's end, ralliers looked south and saw that someone was projecting the word "Boycott" across nine stories of the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. Gays have been boycotting the hotel since last summer after owner Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to the campaign to get Prop 8 on the ballot.
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