Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today's Very Special Witnesses in the Prop H8 Trial

While the rest of us are following a special election way out east and ongoing political turbulence here in Nevada, something very interesting is going on in California. On Day 6 of the federal Prop H8 trial, witnesses being called to the stand will include UMass Economics Professor M.V. Lee Badgett and "de-gay-ification" survivor Ryan Kendall. Oh yeah, and this guy will also be testifying.

Yes, Jerry Sanders is the Mayor of San Diego. Yes, he's been elected as a Republican. And yes, he now supports marriage equality.

Karen Ocamb explains some more:

I confess, I had never really heard of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders until his name came up in conjunction with a city council resolution to have the city attorney file an amicus brief in support of the marriage equality case. I confess, too, that once I heard he was a major law enforcement Republican in that very conservative city, I didn’t hold out much hope for him agreeing to the brief – especially since he was up for re-election.

Slap my wrist and shame on me for stereotyping before investigating.

Jerry Sanders gave a news conference that surprised the hell out of the LGBT community – tearfully telling how he had to support marriage equality because he didn’t want anything less for his lesbian daughter and her girlfriend. We panted for that video which we re-played and re-played – some of us wondering with tears streaming down our faces – if our fathers would put their careers on the line to stand up for us.

He did put his career on the line and he did lose a great amount of support from his own political party, but he's gained the respect and admiration of so many equality activists who appreciate him coming around. It will be interesting at the very least to hear what he says on the stand.

Of course, it will also be interesting to hear Professor Badgett detail the legal and financial discrimination we LGBTQ folk still face without civil marriage equality, as well as Mr. Kendall to describe the emotional and physical torture he had to endure because of a few misguided people who thought they could "save" him by "changing" him. All in all, today looks to be a riveting day in the courtroom and I'll link to the coverage of the Prop H8 trial later today.

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