California groups ‘committed’ to 2010 gay marriage vote
A coalition of Californian gay rights groups have said they are determined to get gay marriage back on the ballot next year.
Jo Hoenninger of Restore Equality 2010, said: “This is a movement for equality. Harvey Milk didnʼt wait for research.”
This week, the state’s largest grassroots gay advocacy group withdrew its support for the 2010 campaign.
Courage Campaign, based in Los Angeles, said it does not believe the movement currently has enough leadership or financial support to be successful in the next 12 months.
The group said campaigners should wait until 2012 instead.
Gay marriage was briefly legal in California but was overturned by the state’s voters in November 2008, who approved a measure called Proposition 8 to ban it.
Hoenninger, chair of the interim executive committee for Restore Equality 2010, said: “Harvey Milk didnʼt wait for research. He hit the streets year after year. We honour his memory by gathering signatures now so our rights can be restored in 2010 not at some later time when it might be an easier struggle.”
She added: “We appreciate the research work done by the Courage Campaign. The results to date – that one-to-one conversations are the most effective way to change hearts and minds – show that it is all the more important for us to continue to have the conversations necessary to gather the signatures for 2010 repeal of Proposition 8 .”
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A statement from Restore Equality 2010, which is working in coalition with Love Honor Cherish, said that 80 per cent of Courage Campaign’s supporters wanted to seek repeal of Prop 8 in the next year.
Courage Campaign suggested that recent defeats, such as in Maine, and voter polls showed that more time was needed for success.
Equality California warned in August that raising the money needed to fight Proposition 8 next year could be difficult and advised campaigners should wait until 2012.
Hoenninger concluded: “We know this a tough battle, but we are up for the challenge and fully expect those who disagree with us to respect our volunteers.”
Those fighting for repeal in 2010 need to collect one million signatures to place the proposition on November’s ballot.
In other states that allow gay marriage, such as Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts, the right has only been granted through the courts or legislature. It has never been granted by voters.