Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why openness is important

Lauren posted a moving Youtube clip over at Feministe.

It shows San Diego’s Republican mayor, Jerry Sanders, explain why he was not going to veto legislation supporting gay marriage, as expected. It's deeply touching, and it appears clear that Sanders is totally honest about the soul-searching that led him to this decision. A decision which cannot but cost him among parts of his Republican base.

San Diego Metro News has more

Sanders has, to my knowledge, never been rabidly anti-gay, and has always supported civil unions, but in the end, he realized that he could not support a "separate-but-equal institution", which what civil unions amount to. As he stated, he couldn't face the gay people he knows, including his daughter, if he did.

In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana

He made the right decision in the end, and decided to back the San Diego City Council in its decision to support same-sex marriage before the Californian Supreme Court.

As his own statements make clear, this happened because of his proximity to gay people. That was what made him reconsider his stance, and change his mind. This is why it's important for people to be open about such things - it shouldn't be necessary for people to be open about it to get justice, but unfortunately it is. Hiding away because of hatred and discrimination unfortunately only makes it possible for the hatred and discrimination to continue much longer. It's hard to hate and discriminate your own daughter (though Alan Keyes of course manages to do so).

I am not saying that everyone has to come out - in some places that would be quite dangerous - but I hope more people will have the courage to do so, and at the same time change peoples' perception of who and what gay people are and represents.

Back to the story about Mayor Sanders. His daughter, Lisa Sanders, has generally not been commenting on the story, though it's pretty clear that she approves of it. The only comment she has made so far, is quite telling.

I'm just very proud of my father. And to be a part of this. It's about equality, and he's doing the right thing, and I'm very confident in him.

While I am sure that I would disagree with Sanders on many issues, I am totally in agreement with his stance on this issue, and wish him the best of luck in the future.

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