San Diego Mayor Gives Emotional Testimony

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Mayor Jerry Sanders, daughter Lisa (middle) with Meaghan Yaple

Mayor Jerry Sanders with daughter Lisa (middle) and her wife, Meaghan Yaple (Photo: Scott Shafer)

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican in his second term, gave some of the most emotional testimony of the trial this morning. In 2007, Sanders surprised political supporters and opponents by signing -- rather than vetoing as promised -- a city council resolution to support San Francisco's lawsuit against California's ban on same-sex marriage. At the time, Mayor Sanders broke down in tears, publicly announcing that his 26-year-old daughter Lisa was a lesbian and he couldn't say her relationship was less worthy than his own marriage to his wife. Sanders was back on the stand today, and cried again describing his relationship with Lisa, whom he called "my shadow" when she was growing up. He choked up describing his realization that thinking domestic partnerships were a reasonable alternative to marriage was based in his own prejudice. Sanders was a cop in San Diego for some 26 years and said he witnessed gay bashings and even the murder of a young gay man. Under cross-examination by defense attorney Brian Raum, Sanders was pushed to acknowledge that reasonable people can support domestic partners rather than same-sex marriage. Sanders said they can, but that it's still based in discriminatory attitudes about gay and lesbian marriages. One revelation that drew gasps from TV people in the media center: Mayor Sanders said he and his wife haven't watched television news for years. He later amended that to say he DOES watch the San Diego Padres and Chargers on TV. This past Sunday, the Chargers lost to the underdog New York Jets, prompting SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera to note, "You could have brought them a little more luck, your honor."

Update, January 20, 10am: You can listen to my report about Sanders' testimony as heard this morning on The California Report. Click on the player below, or listen on our web site.

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