San Diego Mayor Rushes to See Daughter's Wedding

It shouldn't be this way for people: Mayor Sanders

By Steven Luke and R. Stickney
|  Friday, Aug 13, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM PDT
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San Diego Mayor Rushes to See Daughter's Wedding

Steven Luke

The county clerk David Butler talks with the mayor and his wife in the hallway of the County Administration Building.

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One of the first to marry at the San Diego County clerk’s office once same-sex marriages resume in California will be the daughter of that city's mayor.

Lisa Sanders and her fiancée Meaghan Yaple waited at the clerk’s office for hours Thursday, hoping the stay on same-sex marriage would be lifted and they could finally get married.

When it looked likely that Judge Vaughn Walker would issue a ruling, Lisa Sanders called her father, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, and told him to cut his vacation short and get back to San Diego.

Mayor Sanders was hiking in the mountains in Laguna Niguel when he got the call.

“It’s been a crazy day,” the mayor said. “Our daughter called and said ‘Come on down, it might work out’ so we drove as fast as we could.”

Wearing a T-shirt and shorts, not his usual suit and tie, the mayor met up with his daughter just as word spread through the County Administration Building that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry once again.

Two men with an 11 a.m. appointment were the first to learn. A quick check of Twitter on their phone led to an outburst that filled the hallways.

Then, the emotional rollercoaster ride began for all of those waiting for the green light.

Soon, it was announced the office wouldn’t be taking any appointments until Aug. 18. No same-sex couples would be married today.

“We are very disappointed,” said Mayor Sanders. “We had hoped to see our daughters married today but we’ve been in this for the long haul and we’re ready to wait for next week.”

Lisa Sanders, a vocal opponent of Prop 8 during the 2009 campaign, was obviously disappointed but kept looking at the ultimate goal.

“It’s been a long waiting game,” she said.

“It’s a positive step in the right direction,” she said. “We just need to wait a little bit longer.”

“It shouldn’t be this way for people,” the mayor said Thursday. “It’s pretty disappointing when you want to get married and you can’t even get an appointment.”

“It’s a little disappointing that we’re at that point still,” he said.

The Republican mayor shocked many with his reversal on the issue of same-sex marriage and his very public emotional reaction during a news conference in 2007.

He now recognizes his position as a spokesperson for many impacted by the fight to reverse Prop 8 and allow same-sex marriage in California.

“I really represent a lot of people who are family members, who are friends, who are co-workers of people who are gay and lesbian and we think that they deserve exactly the same rights as everybody else,” he said.

Lisa Sanders and her fiancée made an appointment to marry August 18, along with four or five other couples who were at the county building when the ruling came down.

The clerk’s office can handle only 91 appointments per day. Couples can make appointment in person or over the phone.

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