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San Diego mayor to co-chair new marriage equality group

WASHINGTON – San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has been named co-chair of the new marriage-equality group, Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

“I am proud to be a co-chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry," Sanders told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. "Together, we will work to expand public and political support for marriage equality until every American has the legal right to marry the person they love.”

Sanders has become a vocal supporter of marriage equality since his daughter, Lisa, came out to the family. In a tearful speech on Sept. 19, 2007, that made international news, Sanders said he was switching his views on same-sex marriage because he could not honestly tell his daughter, Lisa Sanders, that her relationship with Meaghan Yaple was not equal to that of his and his wife's marriage. And during the window of time when California had legalized gay marriage, Mayor Sanders officiated at the wedding of Lisa and Meaghan on March 13, 2008.

Also, Sanders testified at the Proposition 8 trial in District Court in San Francisco on Jan. 19, 2010, in support of overturning the state law that took away marriage equality in California.

Now, with Sanders in the final months of his tenure as mayor due to term limits, Sanders is taking his marriage equality mission to a national scale as co-chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Mary.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino are the other co-chairs.

Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, which is affiliated with the Freedom to Marry campaign, will launch its mission to support marriage equality at a news conference at 10 am ET / 7 am PT on Friday, Jan. 20, during the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Freedom to Marry officials say that a broad-based coalition of more than 70 mayors – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – have joined the movement. Other participating elected officials include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is a lesbian.

Also participating in the news conference is Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry.

About Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. The group is pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. The group partners with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.