A drive to gather enough signatures for a vote to repeal the gay marriage ban in California failed earlier today. The Los Angeles-based Love Honor Cherish campaign attempted to gather 700,000 signatures in order for there to be a state wide vote on whether to repeal Proposition 8, a law that banned gay marriage in the state.

Just last week, a poll found that 52 per cent of Californian respondents support allowing gay marriage in the state.
Fifty-two per cent of the 1,515 people surveyed agreed that “same-sex couples should be allowed to become legally married in the state of California”, while 40 per cent disagreed.

Because Love Honor Cherish were able to gather the 700,000 minimum signatures to secure a place on the ballot paper, the group must now wait until 2012 before being able to put it to voters.

California has been the most high-profile battleground for same-sex marriage in the US in the last few years.

Gay couples were given the right to marry in 2008 but opponents succeeded in having this struck down at the polls with Proposition 8 just several months later.

The Supreme Court turned down an appeal by gay rights groups last year, although a trial examining whether the ban was constitutional is currently on hiatus and expected to resume shortly.

Love Honor Cherish’s Executive Director John Henning said: “I’d rather repeal Prop 8 than see the Supreme Court review it, given the current composition of the court.”

All of the 18,000 couples who married in the brief window have been permitted to remain married.

Last week, Californian politicians began to consider whether to repeal a law which requires the state to look for cures for homosexuality.

The legislation, which dates from the 1950s, says that gays are “sexual deviants” and requires the state to carry out research on “deviations conducive to sex crimes against children”.

It was drawn up after a series of sex crimes in Los Angeles, including the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.

Although the perpetrator was not a gay man, homosexuality was included in the list of sexual deviations in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 8050.