Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anti-Prop8 group to launch repeal effort in 2012

Excerpts of Key gay rights group backs 2012 repeal of Prop. 8  by Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer

A San Francisco gay rights group that led unsuccessful efforts last year to defeat the ban on same-sex marriage in California said today it will wait until 2012 to ask voters to repeal Proposition 8 to give supporters of such unions enough time to gather the money, volunteers and support needed to overturn the ban.

"It takes time, commitment and lots and lots of volunteers to undo the untruths that our opponents have been telling," Mark Solomon of Equality California, which bills itself as the state's largest gay rights group, said in a conference call this morning. "If we do the work at the level we need, we can have the support we need by 2012."

Equality California has raised $390,000, knocked on 500,000 doors in California, opened nine new field offices statewide and contacted political consultants and major anti-Prop. 8 donors around the state before it reached its decision to wait until the 2012 ballot to bring the matter before voters again, Kors said.

But the organization's decision appears to collide with other progressive groups fighting for marriage equality. The 700,000-member Courage Campaign said Tuesday it is "pushing ahead to file a ballot measure" in 2010, when state voters will decide their next governor, and its officials said today they have raised $135,998 to invest in research, polling and focus groups in an effort toward repealing the ban next year.

Chaz Lowe, the founder of Yes! On Equality - which says it was the first LGBT organization to file plans to go back to the ballot in 2010 after passage of Prop. 8 - said this week that his group is also prepared and ready for the new fight.

But Lowe added that there seems to be enough passion and momentum now for an effort to repeal Prop. 8, and in the gay community, he said, "it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when."

Yes! on Equality has filed ballot language with the Attorney General's office on the matter, and formed a ballot language task force.

But he cautioned that in the fight for same-sex marriage, "we think we have one shot" at what will be a considerable political challenge. Same-sex marriage supporters need to "make the most strategic decision we will all take time. ''

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