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Vote to overturn Prop 8 in 2012?

August 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The group "Equality California," which led the fight against Proposition 8, says it will wait until 2012 to make another attempt at overturning the ban on gay marriage in California. Despite Wednesday's announcement, some supporters of same-sex marriage say they will still push for a ballot measure next year.After speaking with numerous campaign consultants, pollsters and major donors, a leading gay rights group says it's better to wait three years ask voters to repeal Proposition 8. However, the decision is splitting the gay community.

By waiting until 2012 to ask voters to overturn the same-sex marriage ban, "Equality California" says it will give them the one thing they need the most right now: time. They say they need time to educate people, open offices in conservative areas like the Central Valley and Orange County. It also gives them time for the recession to pass to raise more money for an expensive campaign. The group also says it will allow for high schoolers to reach voting age; a demographic more sympathetic to their cause.

"When we go back to the ballot, we feel that we should permanently win the freedom to marry. We don't want to have to go again and again and not be successful," said Alice Kessler, Equality California.

Many in the gay community had pushed for a 2010 vote because of the momentum brought on by the passage of Proposition 8 last year, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

"I think there's a lot of disappointed people, and it won't surprise me at all if there is an effort to put this on the ballot anyway. There's no one person that gets to decide this," said Larry Levine, a professor of sexual orientation law at McGeorge School of Law.

The "Courage Campaign" has already said it is moving forward with a 2010 initiative to allow same-sex marriages.

Whichever year it is going to be, the award-winning campaign team that guided Prop 8 to victory is confident voters will protect traditional marriage.

"They have yet to explain why the people of California, why 100 percent of the people of California, have to change their views on marriage in order to accommodate one or two percent of gay couples that want to get married," said Frank Schubert, "Yes on Prop 8" Campaign Manager.

Supporters who want to qualify an initiative for the 2010 ballot will have to act fast. The suggested deadline to turn in an initiative to the attorney general's office is September 25.

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