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With his wife by his side, Mayor Jerry Sanders fought back tears this evening to tell reporters Wednesday that he would no longer veto legislation supporting same-sex marriage, saying the rights of his daughter and other gays and lesbians were more important than a campaign promise.

Photo: Sam Hodgson

“I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law,” Sanders said. “I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana.”

In the speech, Sanders revealed that his daughter, Lisa, was a lesbian, a fact that Sanders said he knew about for three or four years but that had been largely shielded from the public eye.

Sanders said it was difficult to back out of a position he took during the 2005 endorsing civil unions but opposing marriage for same-sex couples.

“I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today,” he said. “All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right.”

The Mayor’s Office announced yesterday that he would veto the legislation, which would send on behalf of the city of San Diego a legal brief to the state Supreme Court advocating that same-sex marriage be legalized in California.

The City Council voted 5-3 to support the “friend of the court” brief yesterday.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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