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A (Republican) Change of Heart
September 22, 2007 1:58 PM   Subscribe


 
He should probably learn not to call it "gay" marriage, unless he really means that he wants it to be contingent on people making an affirmation of sexual orientation.
posted by The World Famous at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


That is a fucking great YouTube video.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2007


Nice. It's like the video where Mister Rogers makes John Pastore melt, only this time Jerry Sanders is making me melt.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:22 PM on September 22, 2007


That is enough to restore your faith in people.
posted by found missing at 2:25 PM on September 22, 2007


I should perhaps have said in the FPP that this was a video link, for which failure I apologize. The point was not to report the news as such. The performance of Jerry Sanders in this speech is a paradigm-shifting piece of video.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:27 PM on September 22, 2007


Needs a Hero tag.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:29 PM on September 22, 2007


I should also have said I found it through Andrew Sullivan's blog. I admit I was so moved by it that I was in a hurry to post.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:33 PM on September 22, 2007


According to
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/9/20/21948/3445
including some chime-in by San Diego locals, apparently the guy is still just a real-estate developers' hand puppet.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:41 PM on September 22, 2007


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you flip flop evolve on an issue.

Kudos, sir, for reasoning through such an emotional issue and finding out that you've been wrong this whole time. Kudos again, sir, for admitting that and doing something about it.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:42 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


after umpteen gay Repub. scandals he sees the handwriting on the wall. So many Republicans will want to get married...might as well jump in front of the parade.
posted by telstar at 2:42 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kudos, sir, for reasoning through such an emotional issue and finding out that you've been wrong this whole time.

Reasoning through it? The video makes pretty clear that he was pressured into it by homosexuals in his family and staff. Not that there's anything wrong with peer pressure effectuating political change.
posted by The World Famous at 2:45 PM on September 22, 2007


Now Dick Cheney -- how about 'coming out' and supporting 'gay marriage' so that your daughter Mary and her partner Heather Poe, parents of your grandson, Samuel, can have the benefits of a legal marriage? After all, your daughter announced that she supports 'gay marriage.'
posted by ericb at 2:49 PM on September 22, 2007


Reasoning through it? The video makes pretty clear that he was pressured into it by homosexuals in his family and staff.

Once again, the 'homosexual agenda' and 'gay mafia' succeed! And with no help this time from 'activist judges!'
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2007


A very moving video. The man may very well leave something to be desired in other aspects of his mayoralty, but this is a very thoughtful and moving decision.

"pressured into it by homosexuals in his family and staff"

WTF? He said that he couldn't look them in the face if he made the decision to veto the bill. This speech is all about his moral reflection, not simple "homo pressure."
posted by ibmcginty at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I sure hope The World Famous was joking with his comment.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the GOP only changes their views (and usually only personally and not legislatively) when it hits their own family--see Nancy Reagan and stem cells, etc--up til then they're absolutely fine with legislating against other people. It sucks. Their constituents matter for nothing. Our needs don't matter either, nor do our rights. It's absolutely wrong, and congratulating this guy for only doing the right thing when his own family is involved is wrong. Where was he all this time? Legislating and running against equal rights.
posted by amberglow at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


The video makes pretty clear that he was pressured into it by homosexuals in his family and staff. Not that there's anything wrong with peer pressure effectuating political change.

Maybe I need to watch it again, but it made clear to me that reflection on his feelings for his daughter and certain of his staff led him to the new position.

I didn't get the sense that they were actively pressuring him and that it was this consistent pressure that had forced him to change his position on the issue. Instead, I got the sense that the empathy and compassion he had for certain people had broken through.
posted by psmith at 2:57 PM on September 22, 2007


congratulating this guy for only doing the right thing when his own family is involved is wrong

man, you're not seeing the trees for the forest
posted by found missing at 2:59 PM on September 22, 2007


amberglow, he's saying this in the context of approving legislation, albeit symbolic legislation, that he was expected to veto and in doing so may be dooming his political career (or not, in my opinion -- this video is going viral). you and i are usually on the same page on this issue, but i think this guy is putting his money where his mouth is, and even if it took him this long and even if it had to be personal to change his heart, he did come around and he is acting legislatively as well as personally.

hey, mlk was hardly a perfect man either. i'm just blown away by the sight of a republican leader (and really, ANY politician) actually taking a moral stand bound to be unpopular but because it is the right thing to do. the eloquence of his choked-up ineloquence -- his tears are for the breaking of his career, as you see especially when he says "and some of my constituents might not approve, or even . . . understand . . . . . ." -- transcends, for me, the specifics of this man in this situation.

it shames the haters, is all.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:03 PM on September 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


And The World Famous, assuming you aren't kidding, WTF? Do we really need the hate? Or you could say, maybe, that there was "pressure" on the mayor from his family and constituents and employees, and then so what? That's how society works, that's how minds get changed, that's how laws get made. Moral suasion is a form of pressure and a form one hopes will actually move the powerful on occasion. So what if his lesbian daughter sat her dad down for a heart to heart one night last week? So what if a member of his staff corralled him in the lunchroom to express his opinion? Do you think the fundamentalist right-wingers who are up in arms about "gay marriage" didn't put any persuasive pressure on the mayor? Why do you think he's nearly in tears? It's hard to stand up and be counted. This man just did it. Way to deal with a lot of pressure.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:09 PM on September 22, 2007


amberglow writes "Where was he all this time? Legislating and running against equal rights."

To be fair, he supported civil unions before this. I don't see a big difference between civil unions and marriage.

Personally, I don't think the government should give marriage licenses to anyone. The President calls marriage "a religious sacrament," and wtf is the government doing in the religious sacrament business? Civil unions for all. If you want to do the whole mating ritual with your church or whatever, knock yourself out. The government's only role in it should be to enforce the terms of the contract.
posted by mullingitover at 3:18 PM on September 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I heard his speech on the radio, and it brought me to tears.

It always feels like there's something fundamentally missing in the hearts of people who can oppose same-sex marriage when it means their children and loved ones can't get married. If the desire to see one's own children happy doesn't outweigh one's political calculations, well, maybe it's time to re-think career choice. Obviously there are plenty of politicians in that position, but it feels very sad to me. Family values indeed.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2007


Bravo that man. The Mayor I mean.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:24 PM on September 22, 2007


And The World Famous, assuming you aren't kidding, WTF? Do we really need the hate?

What hate? WTF?

Or you could say, maybe, that there was "pressure" on the mayor from his family and constituents and employees, and then so what?

Isn't that what I said?'

He said that the reason he's doing it is that he couldn't look his gay family members and staff in the face if he didn't. That's not "reasoning through it."

That's how society works, that's how minds get changed, that's how laws get made.

Yep. I said that above.

Moral suasion is a form of pressure and a form one hopes will actually move the powerful on occasion.

Just remember that you're the one saying that people should legislate based on morality, not me.

So what if his lesbian daughter sat her dad down for a heart to heart one night last week?


Did I say there's something bad about it?

So what if a member of his staff corralled him in the lunchroom to express his opinion?

Exactly.

Do you think the fundamentalist right-wingers who are up in arms about "gay marriage" didn't put any persuasive pressure on the mayor?

I think that if a democrat changed his pro-gay political position to anti-gay because his newly converted christian wife and a fundie on his staff made him feel like crap for not taking a "moral" position, you would be the one up in arms.

Why do you think he's nearly in tears?

Because he's changing his position for emotional reasons.

Seriously, why the attacks on me?

And one more thing, "It always feels like there's something fundamentally missing in the hearts of people who can oppose [ANYTHING] when it means their children and loved ones can't [DO WHATEVER IS OPPOSED]." Yeah, because legislating based on whatever your family wants to have legal is a super idea.

mullingitover has the right idea, frankly.
posted by The World Famous at 3:27 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey World Famous, didn't mean it to come out as an attack. I apologize.

It's just that your framing of the "pressure" on him gave him no agency in the decision to change his position. It seemed kind of petty also in that it implied that pressure from advocates of gay civil liberties is somehow different from that applied by other forces in the debate. As another poster pointed out above, there's a code language in anti-gay discourse that uses the word "pressure" to suggest that gay political activism is insidious or undemocratic. Clearly that was not the sense you meant, from your expanded explication. My bad, I'm sorry.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2007


"I love my dead live gay son daughter!"
posted by Deathalicious at 3:42 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Marriage is not [ANYTHING] or [...WHATEVER...]. He's not signing a law that allows his family and staff - and only his family and staff - to smoke meth and murder people. He is realizing that he's been holding a double standard - that's it's ok for some people to get married and not others - and that this double standard is wrong.

That he came to this conclusions because he knows actual gay people is a testament to the gay rights movement, and to people like Harvey Milk: when people who hold antigay opinions actually get to know real live gay people, they have a much harder time hanging on to their antigay opinions.

Great speech, mayor.
posted by rtha at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2007


This guy may have ended his career as an elected official, but I think he just started a long and productive one as a pundit and policy adviser. I'll bet 6 to 8 months from now we'll see a book with a white jacket and red and blue stripes on it that looks like this:

Quirky Expression: Complete Sentence Explaination of Quirky Expression and How it Relates to the Gay Marriage Debate.

And then he'll go on lots of TV shows and talk about how he came to this realization and there's a good chance Stephen Colbert will do a funny bit with him.

I eagerly anticipate all these things because he's right and I like funny bits with Stephen Colbert. It takes a pair of big brass ones to stick with your heart in the American political system, and I hope this pays off for him.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:47 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


TWF, I do not agree that legislation should be based on what family members of politicians want to have made legal. Nor did I say that.

I do think that it takes a certain hardness of heart when politicians take action that brings harm to their own family members, such as denying them their civil rights.

I would be perfectly happy if the government provided civil unions for all and left marriage to religious institutions. Until that happens, however, I'm going to continue to take it personally (and politically) when people tell me that I do not deserve to get married, and I'm going to cheer on those who change their minds to support my right to get married.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:47 PM on September 22, 2007


I don't imagine it'll hurt his career much. if he's been a good mayor, people will cross parties to vote for him. indeed this just make it easy for democrats to vote for him. non-fundamentalists see the value in such a centrist candidate.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:56 PM on September 22, 2007


I doubt very much that this will damage Sanders' career or his prospects very much in the San Diego mayoral race. The city and county have a long history of electing LG (if not BTQ) people, Christine Kehoe and Toni Atkins (Democrats) and Bonnie Dumanis (a Republican) to name a few. Although it's a GOP-friendly community, it's not a hard-core fundamentalist or John-Bircher sort of place, aside from the few crazies you have anywhere.

As a former San Diegan, I expect that most voters will pay more attention to the years of scandal and mismanagement in the city. A mayor resigned, council members sent to jail, bankrupt pension fund, etc, etc.

Also note: City elections in San Diego are technically non-partisan.
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:00 PM on September 22, 2007


*weeps*

I don't know. This really got to me. I like to imagine that many individuals have moments like these alone, or with family members. The fact that it's a public address moves me more than I can say, and will hopefully shatter plenty of hearts that may have been hovering on the edge of a change for some time. Thank you for posting.

It's easy to be cynical about the significance of theatrical political moments like these, but in this moment, at this time, no matter what comes of it, I feel a little better about what I may have to look forward to in life.
posted by hermitosis at 4:03 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


... I think there's a pattern here for conservatives and their social attitudes. They don't mind restrictions on free speech, until they have something provocative to say. They want to restrict reproductive rights, until someone close to them has an unwanted pregnancy. They want to break down the church-state wall, until they feel like their faith is in the minority. They want to treat embryos as people, until they suffer from an ailment that could benefit from stem-cell research.

And they balk at the idea of equal rights for gay people, until it's their daughter who is looking for equality.

The key to social change in this country seems fairly straightforward: wait for conservatives to have more life experience.


The fact that this guy privileges his daughter over all his constituents is wrong. The fact that it took his daughter and not some other gay or lesbian San Diegan to get him to change his stance is wrong. Even his tears are not because of the injustices he perpetuated for so long and the harm he did so many people for so long. He took an oath--not to legislate for his family and to cater to their needs, but to do so for the PEOPLE of San Diego. His responsibility is not to his daughter but to the very very large gay and lesbian population who needs rights--all those people were invisible to him until this week. WTF.
posted by amberglow at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


That bastard! How dare he agree with me for all the wrong reasons!
posted by found missing at 4:10 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Rights should never ever ever be dependent on a family member's circumstance--Ever. It's absolutely not how rights are granted nor at all relevant to whether we as citizens deserve them or not. No way, no how. Should we have waited for a white lawmaker to have a black family member for slavery to end? For a male lawmaker to be persuaded by his wife to grant women the right to vote?

To applaud him for ignoring the needs of his constituents until it hit home is just pathetic. Our rights are not about his family or personal circle.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on September 22, 2007


I'm just saying, you might make better use of your righteous indignation if you reserve it for the people who are on the wrong side of the issue.
posted by found missing at 4:15 PM on September 22, 2007


amber, if we can't believe people can change their minds over time, what point is there to anything but cynicism?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:17 PM on September 22, 2007


Yeah, because legislating based on whatever your family wants to have legal is a super idea.

exactly. And The World Famous' point about a lawmaker being swayed by his fundie/born again wife is exactly relevant too.
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on September 22, 2007


I guess in amberglow's world, D. Cheney has more integrity because he wasn't swayed by his family or personal circle.
posted by found missing at 4:20 PM on September 22, 2007


amber, if we can't believe people can change their minds over time, what point is there to anything but cynicism?
If we have to wait for lawmakers' personal circumstances to affect rights, then it's already extremely cynical and absurd. This guy finally did the right thing--for all the wrong reasons. Applauding him for his change of heart based purely on his family and not on the needs of his constituents reaffirms that some deserve rights and some don't matter. What he did reinforces that, and applauding him reinforces it even more.

This whole situation is actually the height of cynicism. It's about ignoring the needs of your constituents for years. It's about ignoring their needs and their rights. It's about running for election against something , and all of a sudden now that thing that helped propel you into office is dropped like a hot potato because of your daughter--it's all entirely cynical and actually corrupt.
posted by amberglow at 4:24 PM on September 22, 2007


amberglow, something good happened. Why niit-pick it?

And besides, I think the guy just loves and respects his people. And the "gay" vote won't hurt either.

The dude cried for goodness sakes. (Admittedly, I choked up a bit too.)
posted by snsranch at 4:24 PM on September 22, 2007


amberglow, you must have hated A Christmas Carol, that tale of cynicism and corruption.
posted by found missing at 4:28 PM on September 22, 2007


the reaction has been quite split here in san diego. half the people are thanking him for his honesty, but there's a large section of the people calling him "judas" and saying the lord is going to smite him down. please keep in mind that we may be in southern california, but this town is quite conservative.

recent letters to the editor column

"Finally, a politician who put family before politics."

to

"A sobbing Mayor Jerry Sanders says he decided to “lead with his heart” on this matter. This voter expected him to unemotionally lead with his brain instead."

and

"Mayor Jerry Sanders is a crybaby with little backbone! He knows, explicitly, that the majority of San Diego voters want to keep marriage as sacred as it has been instituted by God. "

these letters to the editor are somewhat reasoned out, so the real fun takes place in the article commentary section

ive lived here pretty much all my life, and this is where the total lowlife scum of the town come out to play. generally, all bad things are blamed on mexicans. ive left the typos in for fun.

"What do you expect when a bunch of activist gays, in stelth, take over jobs in the city hall? No we have a lesbian DA, and lesbians on the City Council. These people don't care about broad constituant support, they care about the grass root gay agenda that they are loyal to. San Dieog may just turn into another San Fransisco if we don't vote these radicals out of office."

"Marriage: Man and Woman. Simple. Straight forward honest truth. We are not a city for gays to parade around and shove it across the newspaper. This efffects EVERYONE. They will never stop with this and only want more "rights". NO! Never! Not in this city. Not in this USA. We are not a sanctuary city for gays and illegal's. Leave now. Never come back!"

(ah, didnt take long for a dig at the mexicans!)

"Mr Mayor, don't give in to the Gay Militants. Soon, there will be a group wanting to marry their cat, or dog. One wealthy matron left 12 million to her dog. this has to stop someplace amybe at the Federal Level. Don't listen to those losers in the city council. They have nearly ruined San Diego and they want to keep up thier evil work."

and that's just scrolling down the page for a few seconds. this is the san diego i know all too well. sure, there are a lot of good folks out here, but the amount of hatred here is pretty amazing. im all for people having differing opinions, but these posters frequently scare me.
posted by fillsthepews at 4:28 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


For many people who aren't as "enlightened" as some, it takes something or someone close to home before they can make the leap from what the believed to a new, and sometimes uncomfortable paradigm.

I am touched and moved by this man who obviously has seen the errors of his ways. It would be a huge mistake to judge him solely by the views of his past. Is there such a thing as forgiveness? I sure hope so because I've by no means been always ideologically pure.
posted by ranchocalamari at 4:29 PM on September 22, 2007


I guess in amberglow's world, D. Cheney has more integrity because he wasn't swayed by his family or personal circle.
But he is swayed--by the oil companies and Halliburton and his Exec Branch power-above-all circle. He totally is--except not when it comes to social issues.

Do you honestly think it would be right for Dubya to come out as pro-choice purely because Jenna or Not-Jenna got knocked up--even tho he thinks it's murder? They would just hustle her overseas to get an abortion.

Laws should never never never change--for good or for bad--because of the personal family circumstances of the officeholders--it's really simple.
posted by amberglow at 4:29 PM on September 22, 2007


It would be nice if he did a follow-up press conference explaining what he thinks the legal and constitutional basis for his new opinion is. I think the issue will continue to be divisive until politicians and others start putting the issue in the right terms, which I'm actually not sure is even possible.

I suppose Aguirre's report will be enlightening on that front. He's a bright attorney, and I'm interested in seeing the arguments he comes up with.
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on September 22, 2007


Personally, I don't think the government should give marriage licenses to anyone. The President calls marriage "a religious sacrament," and wtf is the government doing in the religious sacrament business? Civil unions for all. If you want to do the whole mating ritual with your church or whatever, knock yourself out. The government's only role in it should be to enforce the terms of the contract.

You were set for the win until you got to "civil unions for all." Why does the government need to have any role whatsoever in such private matters? Abolish legal marriage, period. Abolish all the bureaucratic nonsense related to it, such as tax provisions based on domestic arrangements or procreative choices. If people want to form whatever sorts of unions they choose, more power to 'em. If that involves a mortgage at some point, that's automatically a contract. If it involves other shared property or progeny, it's quite easy to set up contracts to handle those as well.

Of course, this will never happen, not because of "traditional values" but because the marriage and divorce industries, especially the latter, are far too lucrative.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:32 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


When it comes to rights it's even more important that personal family circumstances don't decide it. It's far far more likely that things like marriage rights and equality are affected for the bad all over this country precisely because of the lawmakers' and their families' beliefs and attitudes. We even hear it from the Dem candidates--not one of them is "there yet" on marriage--but it's not about them at all. Incidents like this fool simply set that in stone even more.

That's the point. Go congratulate those who fight for rights or help others get rights because they're owed to us. Not those who only wake up when it hits home. It's not about him or his family---it's about us and our rights. All this focus on these personal conversions make it more likely that those who would deny us our rights (which is most lawmakers) feel even more certain that they're personally right, and that they should be deciding these things based on personal things. It's absolutely wrong.
posted by amberglow at 4:35 PM on September 22, 2007


Of course, this will never happen, not because of "traditional values" but because the marriage and divorce industries, especially the latter, are far too lucrative.

Do you really think that if the government stopped recognizing marriage people would stop getting married?
posted by The World Famous at 4:35 PM on September 22, 2007


This whole situation is actually the height of cynicism. It's about ignoring the needs of your constituents for years.

That's what makes his outpouring of emotion so incredible to me; it's an expurgation of all of that. He's willingly opened himself up and made himself ridiculous in an attempt to finally do the right thing. Like at the last second, he couldn't bring hiself to drop the bomb, so he crashed the plane.
posted by hermitosis at 4:36 PM on September 22, 2007


The fact that it took his daughter and not some other gay or lesbian San Diegan to get him to change his stance is wrong.

But it was his daughter's life that helped him see those other gay and lesbian San Diegans as something other than "other."

And why is it less legitimate than him holding antigay opinions based on what he's told by people not related to him? Presumably, he held at least some of the prejudices about homosexuality that all of us are taught at one time or another: that gays can't be fit parents; that we're child molesters (please see the first comment on the youtube page); that we must "recruit" to fill our "ranks"; that we are dangerous and undesireable. He learned that those things are lies, and because those prejudices are so often held so viscerally, it took something other than reading articles in the American Psychiatric Association's newsletter to accept that he had been wrong. How many times have any of us stood up in front of even one or two other people and said "I've been wrong about [X]", let alone done it at a news conference?

This certainly isn't the ideal strategy to get changes made in civil rights - of course no one should have had to wait for Strom Thurman to have had a black child (oh, wait!) - but that doesn't make it "wrong."

It's about running for election against something , and all of a sudden now that thing that helped propel you into office...

Did he run on an anti-gay platform? (genuinely curious)
posted by rtha at 4:37 PM on September 22, 2007


Go congratulate those who fight for rights or help others get rights because they're owed to us. Not those who only wake up when it hits home.

Ah, christ, we can do both, can't we? We need all the help we can get, and we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good?
posted by rtha at 4:38 PM on September 22, 2007


Do you really think that if the government stopped recognizing marriage people would stop getting married?

Of course not. In fact I stated (or suggested) exactly the opposite. If legal marriage were abolished tomorrow, people would still mate and shack up and make promises in whatever fashion they chose. They just wouldn't need to get a license to do it and would receive no special State-endowed privileges or burdens as a result.

And if they wanted to dissolve their domestic arrangements, they wouldn't necessarily need a lawyer or a court date. They could just say, "I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee" and throw dog poop on one another's shoes.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:42 PM on September 22, 2007


But by acknowledging this man no one is taking away the huge debt and congratulations owed to those who are in the trenches working on gay rights and marriage.

If you like, name a few that you know and I will write each one a heartfelt letter of appreciation.

This is simply a person who has seen the light, albeit a bit late. Good on him. I hope more follow suit.
posted by ranchocalamari at 4:44 PM on September 22, 2007


amberglow: The fact that it took his daughter and not some other gay or lesbian San Diegan to get him to change his stance is wrong.

rtha: But it was his daughter's life that helped him see those other gay and lesbian San Diegans as something other than "other."

I always thought that the most effective thing I, as a gay man, could do to work for equality was to do it on the "retail" level. Yes, I've marched. Yes, I've demonstrated. I think I got more milage just by being out: Out to family. Out to friends. Out to co-workers. Just living life and setting an example. I can't change society as a whole, but I can influence people one by one. And maybe, just maybe, one of those people may be in a position to do something really effective, or if not effective, something really symbolic.

Perhaps something like that happened in the Sanders family. I've seen it in so many others. Hearts change, and minds follow.
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:52 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


How many people EVER care or change their minds just because it's right? Most people that I know became open-minded about gays because of exposure to family, friends, or co-workers that turned out to be gay. My mom's acceptance of me is fairly recent, even though it's been eight years since I came out to her-- but I'm no less grateful for it because of how goddam long it took her.
posted by hermitosis at 4:53 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


One of the arguments for gay rights in the past was that you couldn't simply ignore homosexuality and pretend it was separate from your life. How many people have heard the line, "you already know someone who is gay," as an indication of how widespread alternative sexualities are in society? The argument is you can't just ignore homosexuality; it's a fact of life, so you'd better get used to it.

Another popular approach is to ask people to imagine what would happen if they discovered a loved one was gay—a child, a sibling, a friend, even a parent—and whether your beliefs about gay rights would change as a result. This approach works because it asks people to consider the issue of gay rights not as some abstract notion of right and wrong, but as something tangible that affects them personally. Combine the two points above and you have "you probably already know someone who is gay; with that person in mind, would you still argue against same-sex marriages?"

Sanders has done exactly that: he's taken what was previously an abstract notion to him, discovered people in his life that made that abstract issue real, and found he couldn't continue to advocate for positions that would harm people he loved. Isn't that exactly the sort of realization we'd like the entire country to come to? That fighting same-sex marriage and discriminating against gays, lesbians and other people of alternative sexualities will end up hurting people in your community that you care about?

We ask people all the time to think about how various policies would affect their loved ones. This is no different. As much as we'd like everyone to be an ethical automaton who can spit out the right answer to any moral quandry, big or small, the fact is most of us consider an issue differently when it's someone you know who's involved versus Theoretical Person X. How many people decided to fight for gay marriage because they knew someone who wanted to get married to their partner but couldn't? Aren't those people also morally suspect because they formed their opinion partially on the basis of favouring someone they knew?
posted by chrominance at 4:54 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


But by acknowledging this man no one is taking away the huge debt and congratulations owed to those who are in the trenches working on gay rights and marriage.

But they don't ever get nationwide attention of the positive sort this fool gets--Especially not those who have been working in his own town--who he ignored or worse for years. Holding up this guy for any reason makes it more likely that all the people all over will continue to be ignored--they're not a dramatic story tailormade for the news and other media. They're not "news" and this guy is.

And if all the people working for equality have to depend on guys like this for our rights, we're in deep deep, deep trouble. Not all lawmakers have gay children, you know. Not all lawmakers have sudden conversions like this, and this guy makes it less likely that they will, since he attributes it wholly to the personal like they all do--whether it's their personal religions or personal attitudes.
posted by amberglow at 4:55 PM on September 22, 2007


In principle, I'd also prefer our pols to behave rationally and use their (putative) intellects to make decisions on issues based on ethics and the longterm best interests of their constituents. And I'm also a little bummed that, in this year of grace, simply standing up and doing the right thing makes you a hero and a YouTube star. Doing what's right shouldn't be extraordinary; it should be commonplace.

But it's not, especially among pols, and, it's naive to discount the importance of empathy in the equation. Whatever it takes to increase someone's ability to imagine the position of a person who's being treated unjustly, whatever fucking method works to make each of us even a little more magnanimous, well, hey, in that case, the ends justify the means.

I dunno, I'd prefer if George Bush just woke up pro-choice tomorrow, but if it took one of his daughters getting knocked up to help him understand a little the abject terror and panic of being unintentionally pregnant, even if that just helped him appreciate why many people see the issue differently than he does -- why would that be a bad thing?
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Er, not that I wish an unplanned pregnancy on anyone, especially if it involves extending that family line.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:06 PM on September 22, 2007


The thing is, this is not newsworthy because it's a politician coming out in support of same-sex marriage. It is newsworthy because it is a California mayor coming out in support of same-sex marriage, and one who was previously opposed to it. In the context of the California state government and California courts' stance on what happens to California mayors who take steps to make same-sex marriage legal in their city, he may be setting the wheels in motion for another showdown just like we had in San Francisco. Now that, my friends, is newsworthy.

Whether he's doing the "right" thing is entirely subjective (my apologies to those who think that it's indisputable that legalizing same-sex marriage is the "right" thing). He's in the news because he is rocking a pretty big boat in much the same way that another California mayor rocked it and got rocked right back.
posted by The World Famous at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2007


Yes, not all lawmakers have gay children, but there is a phenomenon know variously as inertia or "the hundredth monkey syndrome". Once other republicans see that it makes sense to offer gays the same rights as anyone else, others will follow. To vilify them for not seeing the light before, or for not always being ideologically pure will drive them away from realization, not encourage them.

What about the slave owners who renounced their former beliefs and set their slaves free? Should we say that ay that their huge, probably ego shattering psychological and philosophical changes should be ignored and ridiculed? No. And for the same reason I don't think your argument holds water here.
posted by ranchocalamari at 5:12 PM on September 22, 2007


It also may not be the sincere outpouring and change of heart and "doing what's right" people think it is: ...The San Diego City Council majority already had its veto-proof resolution to beseech the state Supreme Court to bless gay marriage. Sanders' sobbing seal of mayoral approval was simply icing on the wedding cake, so to speak.

In his Wednesday news conference, Sanders said he now supports gay marriage, as opposed to the utilitarian “civil union,” because one of his daughters and some staff members are homosexual. The mayor couldn't bear thinking of their lifelong bonds as any less meaningful than his with his wife.

This is, you must agree, the politics of symbolism, not substance.

What matters isn't the consequence of actions but how people feel about public gestures. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:12 PM on September 22, 2007


And if all the people working for equality have to depend on guys like this for our rights...

But no one here is saying that they should, or that that will be the case. At least, I'm not saying that. Anybody else?

I don't remember the names of every member of the Massachusetts or Vermont Supreme Courts, but they sure got a lot of attention at the time, and the individual judges probably got a lot of thank-you cards (and hate mail).

Perhaps one or more of those judges had a clerk who was gay. Would it be wrong of the judge to ask the clerk their feelings on the matter? Would it be wrong if those judges discussed what they'd learned with the other judges? Would it be wrong to then take what they'd learned into account?
posted by rtha at 5:32 PM on September 22, 2007


Would it be wrong of the judge to ask the clerk their feelings on the matter?

Feelings? I suppose it wouldn't be wrong to ask, but it shouldn't have any impact on the judge's ruling. Judges should rule based on law, not the feelings of their clerks. It would not be wrong for the judge to ask the clerk for their legal analysis.
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on September 22, 2007


this has to stop someplace amybe at the Federal Level.

I keep scanning this and cracking up. The Federal Level sounds like an ominous dungeon.

You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. A placard on the wall reads "The Federal Level". You are likely to be eaten by a republican.
posted by psmith at 5:39 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


amberglow, what of all the parents and families of military members who don't have a change of heart until they lose a son, a daughter, or a sibling to war ... what of the soldiers who come back from war and join antiwar organizations ... people are transformed by their own personal experience all the time. I don't care how he got there, I am just glad he got there.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:44 PM on September 22, 2007


I understand amberglow's disenchantment with the motivation for change here. It would have been so much sweeter if this guy had just on his own said, "oh shit. I've been so wrong about this issue for so long."
posted by notreally at 5:48 PM on September 22, 2007


It would have been so much sweeter if this guy had just on his own said, "oh shit. I've been so wrong about this issue for so long."

Or an explanation of the legal basis for his change of position. He is signing off on asking the City Attorney to write a persuasive legal document about the issue. You'd think that maybe the mayor could think of some of the persuasive arguments that will be contained in the document, particularly if he were actually persuaded on the issue itself.
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on September 22, 2007


I understand amberglow's disenchantment with the motivation for change here. It would have been so much sweeter if this guy had just on his own said, "oh shit. I've been so wrong about this issue for so long."

Sure. It would be great if people always arrived at the right conclusion in the proper fashion. Instead, the vast majority stumble around and fuck up and stumble some more before they arrive at the right place - should we wholly condemn their arrival because of the route they took?

Again, it's not ideal if this is the sole way to have change happen. And again, no one here is saying that it is. But I don't think that the fact that he's getting accolades for doing this is going to make people who work for change Just Because it's the Right Thing to Do shrivel up and go away, or that this level of recognition is going to discourage them from continuing to fight. Because, after all, they're doing it because it's the right thing to do, and not for recognition or accolades. Right?
posted by rtha at 6:03 PM on September 22, 2007


TWF: Judges should rule based on law, not the feelings of their clerks.

My analogy was infelicitous.
posted by rtha at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2007


I agree with Amberglow.

Applauding people for finally getting around to doing what they should have been doing all along is a slap in the face to those who have been handling their business properly.

In high school, I used to turn in assignments late all the time and finally one day I turned one in on time. I presented it to my teacher with a big smile, expecting some form of "wow, you're great!" but no. She just looked at me and told me I didn't deserve any praise because I was supposed to be turning the assignments in on time anyway. Knowing that she expected better from me is what pushed me to turn my assignments in on time from then on.

The same can be applied to Mayor Sanders. If the public lets him know they expect better from him normally, it might push him to actually do his job.
posted by PinkButterfly at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2007


My analogy was infelicitous.

Sorry, rtha. I'll answer your questions more directly:

Would it be wrong of the judge to ask the clerk their feelings on the matter?

No.

Would it be wrong if those judges discussed what they'd learned with the other judges?

No.

Would it be wrong to then take what they'd learned into account?


Of course. Absolutely. No question about it. Yes.
posted by The World Famous at 6:09 PM on September 22, 2007


So that veto proof bill makes his performance even more genuine, as he didn't have to sign it, or veto it, he could have just stayed quiet and not said anything. I understand fundamentally what AG is saying, but things happen this way, a lot of hard work by the masses, and great conflagrations of spectacle by the visible minority. Those unsung heroes make these moments possible. And to be fair, a year or two from now the only people that will remember this fellows name will be those in SD, I certainly won't, so it is not as if he will be a beacon forever shining representing "gay rights".

Depending on rationality to make the case for a given goal is not always the best bet either. "Rationality" put homosexuality down as a mental disorder in the DSM and everything, rationality measures and makes decisions based on norm, which for all the great things people who are GLBT are, they are not the norm in a pretty significant fashion to many people, advances are a combination of passion and rationality, does of both will hopefully prevail.
posted by edgeways at 6:09 PM on September 22, 2007


madamjujujive, I strongly concur!

IMHO, Sanders is a good guy and I have to commend him for following his heart in what could be political suicide.

I think he was following his heart when he first ran for mayor too. San Diego was in the midst of a fiscal nightmare, and he's worked his ass off to repair the damage caused by MANY previous mayors.

I'll be voting for him again.
posted by snsranch at 6:13 PM on September 22, 2007


I'm thrilled the mayor decided he suddenly was in support of gay marriage (since, you know, he has *so* much power over the state government). More seriously, though, good choice to support it.

But, I'm far more interested in the city council's battles with City Attorney Aguirre (and his battles with the courts), the pension disgrace, and the failing housing market...oh, and maybe, just maybe the huge transportation problem we have that's scheduled to make SD in twenty years look like LA now.

Hey, lovely wonderful that the guy's seen the light. He should be, IIRC, up for re-election soon? He'll do a little better in the Hillcrest area than he otherwise might have done...

but his declaration doesn't solve any of the problems of SD, and doesn't make a true impact on the issue of gay marriage, so forgive me for not caring too much.
posted by librarylis at 6:15 PM on September 22, 2007


Applauding people for finally getting around to doing what they should have been doing all along is a slap in the face to those who have been handling their business properly.

Well, I think I've been "handling my business properly," and I don't feel slapped in the face. Although, as data points, I'm female, and a person of color, and a lesbian. So maybe I've been anti-racism/sexism/homophobia just out of self-interest, and because that may not be a pure enough reason to fight for change, or to declare myself anti-those things I mentioned above, I should stop fighting for change.

Okay.

I'll say it again: Would it have been ideal that he came to this conclusion based on careful, logical thought and analysis? Yes. Would it be ideal that he not come to this conclusion at all, rather than come to it the "wrong" way? No.
posted by rtha at 6:29 PM on September 22, 2007


librarylis, I agree with you that in the big picture, this is kind of meaningless, but Sanders has done some great and thankless work in getting us out of our financial problems.

So this may just be a token, but it's still an example of decent leadership.

I could really get into discussing our other problems, but MeFi just isn't the place.
posted by snsranch at 6:32 PM on September 22, 2007


Oh - and one more thing.

I don't do what I do for applause or recognition or accolades, and I don't care if Sanders gets yay'ed for this; it doesn't have a bearing on the way I do things. It may even help.
posted by rtha at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2007


rtha:Well, I think I've been "handling my business properly," and I don't feel slapped in the face. Although, as data points, I'm female, and a person of color, and a lesbian. So maybe I've been anti-racism/sexism/homophobia just out of self-interest, and because that may not be a pure enough reason to fight for change, or to declare myself anti-those things I mentioned above, I should stop fighting for change.

I'm not saying that less-than-perfect motivations should stop people from doing good things they should be doing; I'm just saying that they don't deserve accolades for finally doing so.

I don't do what I do for applause or recognition or accolades, and I don't care if Sanders gets yay'ed for this; it doesn't have a bearing on the way I do things. It may even help.

That's fine. For some people, though, it feels like a slight seeing others get recognized for doing something they've been doing all along without recognition. That's what I meant by "slap in the face."
posted by PinkButterfly at 7:19 PM on September 22, 2007


I do not see why it is an "insult" to committed activists to praise a former opponent for changing his mind. I am an anti-war activist. Do I feel "insulted" when a formerly pro-war congressman changes his/her views and comes over to the right side? Hell no, I don't. I can praise that person with all sincerity and indeed with gratitude.

I repeat my earlier question: if we do not reward people who come around to the light, what is the point of any activism at all?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:26 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Applauding people for finally getting around to doing what they should have been doing all along is a slap in the face to those who have been handling their business properly.

This is like having your kid come home with a 'A' on his report card and then saying 'Well, it should have been A's all along, stupid.'

The guy, for whatever reason, came around to the right side, this should be encouraged, not condemned. And most people change through their own life experiences, from what I've seen.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I repeat my earlier question: if we do not reward people who come around to the light, what is the point of any activism at all?

Exactly. I don't care how people come around, as long as they do.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2007


I'm just saying that they don't deserve accolades for finally doing so.

Well, okay. But then people who do the right thing because it's the right thing to do don't deserve accolades either, because they're just doing what they ought to be doing.

I'll guarantee that most of the parents marching in the PFLAG contingent at your local pride march weren't all pro-gay-rights before their kid came out to them. In the context of a society that has until very recently been entirely hostile to gay rights, what they've done - publicly declared their love and support for their children - is both the baseline for being good parents and a courageous act.

This shouldn't be a single-front battle, fought or supported or applauded by only those who fight from sufficiently pure motives - no successful civil rights struggle ever has been.
posted by rtha at 8:03 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


the mayor did the right thing. however, i would never vote for him if he's a republican.
posted by brandz at 8:18 PM on September 22, 2007


That's fine. For some people, though, it feels like a slight seeing others get recognized for doing something they've been doing all along without recognition. That's what I meant by "slap in the face."

If that's what "some people" are made of, they are pretty weak agents of change. One doesn't support what's right for "recognition." One doesn't greet another's conversion to your cause with jealousy.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:30 PM on September 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


I wonder why there isn't a stronger "I'm pro marriage"* campaign.

Make the meaning of marriage a union between two people. Any two people.

It'll work like "pro life" works.

*but I could easily see the media re-framing that into "I support only heterosexual marriages"
posted by porpoise at 9:13 PM on September 22, 2007


Make the meaning of marriage a union between two people. Any two people.

Coming up with a workable legal definition of marriage is far more problematic than that, unfortunately. In the U.S., it is essentially a very specific kind of three-way contract between two people and the government. In fact, it's quite frustrating that, for all the debate about same-sex marriage, you really never hear or read anyone on either side of the debate saying what they think the actual legal definition of "marriage" is, let alone what they think it should be.
posted by The World Famous at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2007


Watched the video, and was thrilled. Read the thread, and got depressed. A lot of people here seem to have no fucking idea about how human beings actually work.
posted by the_bone at 9:38 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Laws should never never never change--for good or for bad--because of the personal family circumstances of the officeholders--it's really simple.
posted by amberglow at 4:29 PM on September 22 [+] [!]


This is one of the nuttiest statements I have ever read about politics. It represents a radical fetishization of process over outcome.

Guess what? In the real world -- not the utopia you apparently dwell in -- democracy is like making sausage. When the results are good, it's really not wise to get too hung up on how they were arrived at.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:01 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Would it have been ideal that he came to this conclusion based on careful, logical thought and analysis? Yes.

I am reminded of the saying that you cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.

As to those who ask "Why any government sanctioned marriage at all?", generally the idea is that the government wishes to encourage such partnerships for a variety of reasons, social stability, improved child-raising, even social morale - so it rewards such behaviour with tax-incentives. Whether supporting marriage is the best or only way of achieving those goals is another matter entirely, but it's one our civilisation grew up with.
posted by Sparx at 2:23 AM on September 23, 2007


the_bone, I agree. I skipped over a lot of it (the thread that is) because the bickering is too depressing.

This man has done a very brave, and unexpected, thing that will move our society in a good direction. Further, his willingness to publicly express his personal struggle and conclusions will help move the discussion in a positive direction in areas well beyond San Diego.

I applaud him for his bravery, and can only hope that more change can be found in the hearts of our current leaders.
posted by meinvt at 7:51 AM on September 23, 2007


He knew about his daughter for ages, and he knew about his gay and lesbian staffers for ages. She was out to him for ages, and so were they.

This isn't the epiphany people think it is. This isn't even relevant to any progress towards rights, because it's up to the governor, and the city already has a veto-proof majority to override this mayor--something he knew too.

Guess what? In the real world -- not the utopia you apparently dwell in -- democracy is like making sausage. When the results are good, it's really not wise to get too hung up on how they were arrived at.
The only results arrived at here is support for this guy in his upcoming reelection, who doesn't deserve it. Laws don't change, rights don't get granted--nothing. Of course it's like making sausage--and election campaigns are sausage with crocodile tears.
posted by amberglow at 10:22 AM on September 23, 2007


it's not me who's being utopian -- or naive -- here.

... Lisa Sanders was unavailable for comment, according to the mayor's spokesman, Fred Sainz. He said she had told her parents four years ago that she is a lesbian and is currently in a committed relationship, but her orientation wasn't public until her father's speech. ...
On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would veto a bill redefining marriage as a civil contract between two people that was approved by legislators last week. He said he would not reconsider the position and vowed to keep vetoing similar measures unless voters overturn an anti-gay marriage initiative endorsed by 61 percent of voters in 2000.

posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on September 23, 2007


This is exactly how we decide moral issues. The man showed courage and deserves praise. Lest we forget, this was exactly how homosexuality was removed from the DSM as a mental illness.
posted by cytherea at 11:27 AM on September 23, 2007


except it's not a moral issue at all, and applauding those who treat it that way just reinforces that people should view it that way.

slavery was seen to be morally justified too--so was interracial marriage and no votes for women and separate schools...
posted by amberglow at 12:13 PM on September 23, 2007


amberglow, you really should pause and take stock of your position on this. I'm pretty sure I have seen you praise Cindy Sheehan's anti-war activism. But you don't call her a "fool" for becoming an activist solely because she lost her own son in Iraq. Was Christopher Reeve a "fool" because he became an activist for people with spinal cord injuries after he was paralyzed? Are black politicians who advocate affirmative action and civil rights legislation "fools"? Was Harvey Milk a "fool"? Are you a "fool" for advocating gay rights issues because you are gay?

I agree with your argument to the extent you suggest that politicians should be held to a higher standard and should be informed by more than their personal situations. So, fine, maybe Sanders doesn't win the gold medal here. But he certainly deserves at least a nod of affirmation, and he certainly doesn't deserve the scorn you're heaping on him.
posted by brain_drain at 12:14 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


nor did this guy have any kind of moral change of heart--his daughter was already out to him, and he was already for civil unions and had repeatedly marched in their Pride when Police Chief, and has a rightwing primary challenger, and is corrupt to begin with. His action was not at all moral nor has he ever treated it as such--he ignored all along the many couples and families in his city who need those rights, and was peddling a separate-but-equal fake solution all along.
posted by amberglow at 12:17 PM on September 23, 2007


brain, his personal situation had not changed at all--his daughter was already out to him and in a committed relationship. He already knew he had gay staffers. He already was for civil unions. He never was a fire-breathing hater. He has no power to move this bill or sway Schwarzenegger, or even override his own city council's vote in favor--they're the heroes here, if anyone.

His personal situation hadn't changed from the day before to the day he spoke. He wasn't driven by something in his personal life Arnat all--nor by the overwhelming tragedies and enduring situations others who become activists have. He hasn't indicated that he'll do anything further either--he's not an activist now, nor is he harmed by no gay marriage.

The more you learn about him--and there's much more to this than his tearful speech--the more you will see it's no kind of heroic stance or activist awakening or even good deed. Other mayors in CA have already spoken in favor and no one heard of it or applauded them. Other city councils have been fighting for this for ages now. Schwarzenegger doesn't care--and the governator knows plenty of gay people, believe me.
posted by amberglow at 12:27 PM on September 23, 2007


and i fell for this too, until i saw that it wasn't even any change of heart at all, and that he didn't have a hateful record, and that she was already out to him and had been for years, and that he had marched before and had a not-bad (friendly, even) reputation among gay San Diegans, and was in a shaky re-election situation and had a corrupt administration.
posted by amberglow at 12:34 PM on September 23, 2007


nobody likes a sore winner
posted by found missing at 12:35 PM on September 23, 2007


amberglow writes "slavery was seen to be morally justified too--so was interracial marriage and no votes for women and separate schools..."

The civil rights movement was strongly rooted in the churches, as was the abolitionist movement.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2007


as were the pro-slavery, misogynist, and racist movements--all very strongly rooted in churches, just as the opposition to equal rights is today in terms of marriage.

seeing this as a moral issue is a mistake--our rights are not determined by what one person or group or faith or bloc think is moral or not. The more it's seen as moral and some sort of "each one teach one" thing, the less progress will be made. It's not up to the personal comfort level or moral ideas of lawmakers and officials--or you and me either. Our Constitution requires equality, and our history as a nation is of moving toward the realization of that equality.

Morality is relative. It was seen as perfectly moral to own slaves for many. It was seen as perfectly moral to forbid Blacks from attending white schools or to allow them to vote or otherwise participate in civil society. It was seen as perfectly moral not to allow those white men who weren't landowners to vote, or to forbid women from owning property on their own or vote or anything. Many many things were and still are seen as "moral"--they're actually not.
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on September 23, 2007


The only results arrived at here is support for this guy in his upcoming reelection, who doesn't deserve it. Laws don't change, rights don't get granted--nothing. Of course it's like making sausage--and election campaigns are sausage with crocodile tears.

Jesus Christ, stay the course much?
posted by the_bone at 7:03 PM on September 23, 2007


If this isn't a moral issue, then there is no right or wrong position. So who gives a shit?

I happen to think human and civil rights are a moral issue. If you don't, I'm not sure why you think they matter.

There is no purely rational argument for civil rights. At root they depend on moral propositions. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is a moral axiom, not a rationally provable idea.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:36 PM on September 23, 2007


and i fell for this too, until i saw that it wasn't even any change of heart at all, and that he didn't have a hateful record, and that she was already out to him and had been for years, and that he had marched before and had a not-bad (friendly, even) reputation among gay San Diegans, and was in a shaky re-election situation and had a corrupt administration.

He did something good. If he did it for the wrong reasons, or venal reasons, the outcome is still good. If he did it for all the "right" reasons, but it was symbolic - because it was already a sure thing with the City Council, and the governor's going to veto the state bill anyway, so everything remains status quo - it's still a good thing. Symbolic gestures have value - they are among the many agents of change, and can be (and have been) inspirational to many people.
posted by rtha at 8:25 PM on September 23, 2007


I stumbled upon this very late and accidently double-posted it.

Superlative speech. It fills me with great, great hope that the USA may get its shit together and save itself from social destruction.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2007


Finally watched this. What heart.

Amberglow- your comments sadden me. That speech was not an easy one for him to give. I say kudos to him for giving it, essentially saying, "I was wrong." Please watch it again and see the human being this time.
posted by pointilist at 10:49 PM on September 23, 2007


Amberglow- your comments sadden me. That speech was not an easy one for him to give. I say kudos to him for giving it, essentially saying, "I was wrong." Please watch it again and see the human being this time.

I don't give any politicians the benefit of the doubt anymore--especially when they openly and brazenly lie about their knowledge of their daughter's life while they're supposedly shedding tears because the whole issue is so heartwrenching and suddenly important when it wasn't the day before -- when nothing was different. There's no upside for us in that, and only upside for them in their manipulation of us. His "change of heart" is meaningless and doesn't even have symbolic value--the only value is that with this theater he hopes now some gay San Diegans will vote for him, since he's being challenged on his right in the primary. That's it--He actually gives pandering a bad name with this stunt.
posted by amberglow at 4:21 AM on September 24, 2007


amberglow, do you really think the mayor is faking his emotions and putting one over on the public? If so, it's a damn fine performance. I see that clip and only see a man changing his mind and his heart. I've grown so used to cynical liars using emotional playacting to sell political stupidity that this really struck me for its sincerity. Either it's genuine or he's an amazing actor.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:10 AM on September 24, 2007


There's a bloody great upside to it all, amberglow: greater equality. The city of San Diego is going to learn the walls of civilization don't come crashing down when gays are allowed to marry, and that can only benefit the cause of equality all over the country.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:41 AM on September 24, 2007


fourcheese, at first i thought he was sincere and just an ass for only changing because his daughter just came out---once i dug for even a minute, i found out it was false--it's no change of heart and it's not genuine.

fff--no, it doesn't. This mayor is not doing what Newsom did in SF and ordering that marriages happen. His city council already voted in a veto-proof majority to support the state bill going to the governor on marriage, like other cities did. This mayor was only for civil unions before. Schwarzenegger has already said he's going to veto it (again).

This mayor first of all did nothing and stated nothing until after his city council already had decided, and Schwarzenegger had reaffirmed that he would veto it again. His statement is meaningless in terms of rights in CA, and would have been meaningless even without a bill before the governor--unless he was to start doing what Newsom did in SF.
posted by amberglow at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2007


Saunders in 05 as a candidate: ... The Gay & Lesbian Times asked each candidate specifically whether same-sex marriages should be legal in California.
Frye has consistently said she is in favor of same-sex marriages becoming legal in California.
Sanders said he supports long-term, committed same-sex couples receiving equal protection through domestic partner legislation, but doesn’t believe the government should be involved in the matter when it comes to same-sex marriage bills.
“The other part of it is I don’t think government belongs in it at all. … I think marriage is an issue that’s up to the churches,” said Sanders.
Responding to the fact that federal marriage rights are not included in state-sanctioned civil unions, Sanders added, “I support all those rights. I think everybody deserves to be treated equally under the law. I just think that’s important.” ...


Last week, as the City Council was voting, he said he would veto it, but a real hero--this Donna Frye (also mentioned above, also a candidate for mayor back in 05)-- changed her vote to make it a majority.
posted by amberglow at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2007


here's something funny-- Saunders' spokesman said what i say: In 2004, he penned a letter to the editor in The San Diego Union-Tribune that included this passage:
The gay community is no different from the straight community: We are a patchwork of people from all backgrounds and beliefs. It would be wrong to rush any aspect of our community back into the closet simply because of some misguided, antiquated notion of what is acceptable and/or marketable. We don't have rights simply because America might have grown to like some of us. We want basic human rights like the ability to marry, because it's the right and just thing to do. It's the American thing to do.

posted by amberglow at 9:18 AM on September 24, 2007


That's good stuff amberglow, and I'm a big fan of Donna Frye and her legendary surfer hubby, Skip.

The fact that she lost in that '05 election kind of illustrates how republican this town is and how people vote party instead of issues.
posted by snsranch at 4:16 PM on September 24, 2007


amberglow, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this.

Whatever his motives, if he inspires a few more parents of glbt people to turn up at a PFLAG meeting, and then join in on the PFLAG contingent at pride, and then turn out at the polls to vote for something in their own interest - legal recognition of their children's civil rights - well, good on him. The insufficient purity of his motivation to do the right thing does not prevent other people from doing the right thing just because it's right.
posted by rtha at 7:05 PM on September 24, 2007


Wow, so the whole thing is an act?

Nah, that can't be true.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:03 AM on September 25, 2007


Robert Angelo said it best:

"Hearts change, and minds follow."
posted by humannaire at 8:25 PM on September 26, 2007


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