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Republican mayor of San Diego flips to support gay marriage
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday September 20, 2007

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The Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, announced in a highly emotional speech on Wednesday that he had decided not to veto a council resolution that would have reversed California's ban on same sex unions. "My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly," he stated "as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have."

Sanders, who was police chief before becoming mayor, had originally intended to veto the resolution in order to remain consistent with his campaign promises and with the sentiment of most of his supporters, and he changed his mind only at the last minute.

"The arrival of the resolution to sign or veto in my office late last night," said Sanders, choking up with emotion, "forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I've decided to lead with my heart ... and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice."

"I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy, or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage," Sanders continued. "The concept of a separate but equal institution is not something I can support."

"I have close family members and friends who are a member of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa as well as members of my personal staff," said Sanders, nearly breaking down in tears. "In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationship, their very lives were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife."

The following video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast on September 19.