Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007 | With his wife by his side, Mayor Jerry Sanders fought back tears to explain Wednesday why he would no longer veto a measure endorsing same-sex marriage because the rights of his daughter and other gays and lesbians were more important than a campaign promise.
“The arrival of the resolution in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do,” Sanders said. “I have decided to lead with my heart, to do what I think is right, and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice.”
The announcement came as a surprise, as Sanders vowed a day earlier to veto the controversial proposal. The legislation, which the City Council approved Tuesday, directs the City Attorney’s Office to send a legal brief endorsing same-sex marriage to the state Supreme Court, which is considering multiple lawsuits seeking to overturn a ban on the marriage of gay and lesbian couples.
The Mayor’s Office announced initially Sanders would veto the council’s decision in order to remain consistent with campaign statements he made during the 2005 mayoral election.
But Sanders said he changed his mind in the meantime. “I have personally wrestled with that position ever since,” he said. “My opinion on this issue has evolved significantly, as I think have the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life.”
Many people close to him, in his family and his mayoral administration, are gay and he couldn’t deny them the rights that he enjoys with his wife, Sanders said.