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The Los Angeles Times this weekend had this story that traces the conservative ballot initiative against same-sex marriage back to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ well-publicized about-face on the issue last year.

The about-face stunned political observers and energized opponents of same-sex marriage who felt Sanders had betrayed them. It was only one of the twists on the path to the November ballot for Proposition 8, which, if passed, would amend the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Other milestones included a significant boost from ministers and an assist from an out-of-state conservative group that sent an operative to San Diego to raise money.

“It’s not how things typically get on the ballot,” Democratic political strategist Darry Sragow said.

And the story ends like this:

As they push forward into the next phase of the campaign, some opponents of same-sex marriage still credit Sanders with helping them, however inadvertently, get where they are today.

Sanders’ openly gay spokesman, Fred Sainz, said they should not be so quick to do that.

Rather, he said, they should worry that voters they are counting on will follow the example of the Republican mayor, whom Sanders described as “this former chief of police” and a “big, butch guy.”

“This issue is going to be either won or lost with people who are undecided,” Sainz said. “And Jerry brings this wonderful life experience. . . . He comes at it entirely with the perspective of being a dad . . . who has two daughters, and he was unwilling to discriminate against one.”

ANDREW DONOHUE

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