September 20, 2007

Tonight, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, with tears reflecting the emotional toll of his deliberation and change of heart, announced he will support the City Council's decision to back a lawsuit before the California Supreme Court seeking equal marriage rights for gay couples. The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU and other rights organizations.

The following statement may be attributed to Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties:

Mayor Jerry Sanders deserves every San Diegan's support and commendation tonight for his decision to support equal marriage rights for same sex couples.

This past Monday--Constitution Day--I gave a talk to a great class of Hoover High School students and described the ACLU's 1967 Supreme Court victory in Loving v. Virginia, which overturned laws criminalizing interracial marriage. The kids' jaws dropped to learn that Mildred Jeter who was black and Richard Perry Loving who was white could not be married in Virginia and, worse, were sentenced to one year in prison for returning to Virginia after marrying in the District of Columbia.

We will one day look back on this moment with the same shock and confusion that a couple who loved each other and wished only to certify that relationship through our legal system was not allowed to do so on fair and equal terms with other couples.

But, between now and then, there will have to be many more conversions like Mayor Sanders', and our political leaders will need our help to get there and our support when they do.

Please convey your support to Mayor Sanders by e-maiing him at

Please also acknowledge the extraordinary leadership that Councilmember Toni Atkins demonstrated in bringing this resolution before the city for consideration. She surely would appreciate your support as well. She can be reached at

Congratulations to everyone who worked hard for this vote, to the LGBT community and The Center in particular, and to all our allies.

More on the ACLU-San Diego's Fight for LGBT Rights

Union Tribune Article