Prop. 8 Trial: Republican Mayor Says Lesbian Daughter 'Deserves' to be Married

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a staunch Republican who only recently became a supporter of gay marriage, took center stage at the Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco on Tuesday, telling the court that his lesbian daughter "

Proposition 8 plaintiffs (l-r) Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier in San Francisco.
Proposition 8 plaintiffs (l-r) Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier in San Francisco.
Diana Walker

Lisa Sanders, the mayor's daughter, sat in the courtroom as her father repeatedly became emotional during his testimony, San Jose Mercury News reporter Howard Mintz wrote yesterday.

Unsurprisingly, attorneys looking to uphold Proposition 8 downplayed Sanders' comments, according to Mintz.

Prop. 8 lawyer Andrew Pugno told U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who's presiding over the case, that Sanders' remarks were "just irrelevant" and "emotional testimony about feelings" that have nothing to do with the legal questions involved in the lawsuit.

But Margaret Talbot of The New Yorker sees Sanders as an effective witness for the plaintiffs, who has "impeccable" conservative credentials but changed his previous anti-gay marriage stance because he felt it was the right thing to do.

And Associated Press reporter Lisa Leff writes that Sanders drew from his experiences in law enforcement -- the mayor was once the chief of police in San Diego -- to provide additional testimony about the role of gay parents.

During cross examination, Leff writes, Prop. 8 lawyer Brian Raum "pressed Sanders to acknowledge that people could oppose

same-sex marriage because they think it's in the best interests of

children to be raised by their biological parents."

Sanders eventually replied: "I was a cop for 26 years, and I know there were a lot of children

who did not benefit from child abuse and they were being raise by their

biological parents."

On Wednesday, Ryan Kendall, a gay man, will testify about his experiences with "conversion therapy" during his youth.

And the first installment of the re-enactment of the Prop. 8 trial, produced by L.A. filmmaker John Ireland, is expected to be released sometime today.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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