A day after the anniversary of Proposition 8, gay marriages advocates have launched a new fundraising campaign to get the issue on next year’s ballot.

Proposition 8 was a voter initiative which banned gay marriage just five months after it had been enacted in the state.

The launch was announced yesterday at rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno.

Organised by Yes! on Equality and TruthandHope.org, in collaboration with Restore Equality 2010, the goal of the Million for a Million campaign is to raise the $1 million necessary to fund getting the more than one million signatures needed to place a marriage equality initiative on the ballot.

However, Equality California, another gay marriage group, has recommended that efforts should be focused on getting the issue on the ballot for 2012 rather than 2010, saying that the battle for hearts and minds can be solidly won within this timeframe.

This week, Maine voters opted to repeal a new law granting gay marriage but California activists say they will continue their fight.

Chaz Lowe, founder of Yes! on Equality, said: “We cannot let the National Organisation for Marriage (NOM) and its allies, who are willing to spend millions of dollars, defy campaign laws and twist the truth, to deny us our rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution – equal protection under the law.

“With the right ballot language, our polling shows solid support for marriage equality in California. With the right campaign, we believe we can win.”

Lowe believes there is majority support in the state for gay marriage, especially if a provision were included to protect the First Amendment right of churches – so that no church could ever be forced to perform marriages if they choose not to.

Eugene Hedlund, founder of TruthandHope.org, said: “The only thing we learned from Maine last night is that the forces against equality are still strong, but not unbeatable. All over the margins are close, this was not a landslide, the same with California.

“Are Frank Schubert [law firm] and NOM going to decide who has what rights in America or are the people going to decide? Is California ready to once again lead not only the country but the world in progressive, inclusive and forward thinking ideals or is that California just a memory?”

The Million for a Million campaign will include an online fundraising appeal to a network of more than 400,000 grassroots activists, fundraising events in southern California, northern California and the Central Valley and outreach to major donors within the LGBT community in California and throughout the country.

Lowe concluded: “NOM is attacking and misrepresenting LGBT families state-by-state, capitalising on people’s fear as they go to ballot box and hurting all of us in the process. They must be stopped.

“We need the community and our allies to know that they have a choice to either let those attacks stand or to stand up for the equality we deserve. Waiting is not an option.”