San Diego Republican Mayor Jerry
Sanders provided emotional testimony Tuesday at the gay marriage
trial now in its second week in San Francisco.
Sanders once opposed gay marriage, he
freely admitted during the federal trial to decide the
constitutionality of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban approved by
California voters in 2008, saying he believed civil unions were a
In 2007, when the San Diego City
Council passed a resolution calling on the city to file an amicus
brief in support of a San Francisco challenge to a gay marriage ban,
Sanders was prepared to veto the measure.
Instead, the found himself giving an
emotional press conference where he said he could no longer oppose
gay marriage. He attributed his change of heart to the idea that
“separate is not equal.” With his wife by his side, Sanders
said: “I have close family members and friends who are members of
the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter,
In testimony, he said he became very
emotional because he realized that he “came very close to making a
bad decision.” “I was discriminating against my own daughter,”
Proposition 8 lawyer Brian Raum poked
at Sanders' previous motivations for opposing gay marriage. He asked
Sanders if he believed opponents were motivated by animus towards
gays and whether it was wrong to suffer violence as a result of
political views. But it was clear the defense was barking up the
wrong tree. Sanders repeatedly answered anti-gay views were based on
prejudice, even if not motivated by hate.
In other testimony, University of
Massachusetts economics professor Lee Badgett testified on the
economic consequences of gay marriage.
“I don't think we need to wait any
longer to see what the impact will be. I think we know,” Badgett
said. “Everything I've looked at leads me to the conclusion that
there is no impact.”
As with previous witnesses, defense
lawyers attempted to discredit Badgett's professional credentials,
asking her if she's a gay activist. Badgett admitted she contributed
to the campaign against Proposition 8.
The trial resumes Wednesday.