Thursday, September 27, 2007

Evolving opinions, newfound empathy, and a lesbian daughter

I know this is now old news, but I have been somewhat out of the loop and off the computer this past week moving our daughter into the dorms and getting her settled. So I am just now getting around to commenting on this rather amazing and pleasantly surprising development in San Diego.

It seems that the Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, has had an epiphany of sorts on the issue of gay marriage:

The Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, announced in a highly emotional speech on Wednesday that he had decided not to veto a council resolution that would have reversed California's ban on same sex unions. "My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly," he stated "as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have."

Sanders, who was police chief before becoming mayor, had originally intended to veto the resolution in order to remain consistent with his campaign promises and with the sentiment of most of his supporters, and he changed his mind only at the last minute.

Hmmm, what could have caused his newfound empathy and complete last minute about-face on the issue? I mean one minute he was completely at peace with denying a whole segment of the population the very same rights he enjoys with his wife, and then bam, he learns that one of the people who’d be profoundly and forever affected by his decision would be his very own beloved daughter. Talk about a last minute walk in someone else’s moccasins…

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m really not meaning to sound as cold-hearted as I’m coming off on this post (and I’m really grateful he did finally see the light), but can I ask a few questions here? Why is it that so many people don’t have the capacity to see an issue from another person’s perspective until they are force-fed that perspective? I mean really, why couldn’t he see how unfair and cruel it is to deny people rights he enjoys until he learned his own daughter was gay and would be one of the people denied those rights?

And look at Nancy Reagan. She didn’t have a problem with the GOP “pro-life” stance (which effectively caught stem cell research in its wide-reaching net) that her husband so voraciously embraced for political purposes. And she continued to have no problem with it until her very own beloved husband ended up being someone who could possibly benefit from stem cell technology. And then the moment her husband gets diagnosed with a disease that could maybe one day be cured as a result of stem cell research, she too has a “bam” moment which results in an epiphany, and becomes a very powerful advocate for stem cell research ---- powerful enough I might add to even change John McCain’s mind on the issue.

There are so many more examples I could site to make my point, but I think you get my drift. We seem to be a nation that has a hard time understanding all sides of an issue unless that issue directly impacts us in a negative way. Those “protect marriage” sound bites worked just fine and dandy for Jerry Sanders when he was running for mayor, but it took finding out that he had a lesbian daughter before he realized that even catchy little sound bites can have big consequences.

Now again, I am ultra grateful for the mayor’s very sincere and profound change of heart, and I am hyper-aware that there are parents out there with hearts of cold hard stone (Family Values shill Alan Keyes and religious right icon Phyllis Schlafly come immediately to mind) who have gay children they’d rather not even acknowledge, but why why why was it ok for the good San Diego Mayor to deny my son the right to marry, but then not ok when he learned that he had a daughter who would also be denied those those rights?

Just asking…

And for anyone who might not have seen the very emotional press conference, here it is:



Jan said...

I hadn't heard about that mayor and am glad he had that change of heart. (Doesn't always happen. . . ) I am truly grateful for the crises that cause us to turn around and face LIFE and love.

tina said...

It says the video is no longer available. Got another one? I'm glad he had a change of heart also, but I do see where you're coming from. I don't have any gay children but who am I to deny anyone any rights that I have!? You have a very valid point and I hope this awareness of other peoples feelings, spreads! I love your posts.

Chimera said...

Tina, try this one:

Or you can click on the "menu" button at the bottom right corner, then try each link along the bottom until one of them plays.