A coalition of gay groups have filed language to repeal Proposition 8, the initiative that banned gay marriage in California.
Although larger gay groups such as Equality California have opted to wait until 2012 to challenge the ban, groups such as Love Honor Cherish, WhiteKnot.org, and Equality Network have submitted the proposal for the November 2010 election.
If passed, the proposal will replace Section 7.5 of the state constitution – “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California” – with “Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.”
The language also states that churches would not be forced to perform gay marriages.
Gay marriage was legalised in California in May 2008. However, Prop 8, which was passed by the state’s voters, defined marriage as being between a man and a woman last November. Supporters of gay marriage argued the initiative was unconstitutional and discriminatory.
In May 2009, Supreme Court judges rejected an argument from gay marriage supporters that the ban was unconstitutional but unanimously ruled that the 18,000 gay couples who married while gay marriage was legal will stay wed.
More than 40 groups are aiming to place the measure on the November 2010 ballot.
Love Honor Cherish estimates that one million signatures are needed for this and has already instructed volunteers to begin raising funds for the fight. Petitions will begin circulating in November.
Executive director John Henning said: “Prop 8 passed with only 52 per cent of the vote. In the next 14 months, with hard work and inspiration, we can change the small percentage of hearts and minds that we need to win.”