In a decision that has sparked anger and
frustration among gay rights groups, a San Francisco organization that
led unsuccessful efforts last year to defeat the California ban on
same-sex marriage said Wednesday it will wait until 2012 to ask voters
to repeal Proposition 8.
Leaders at Equality California announced Wednesday that next year's
ballot may be too soon to gather the huge political organization needed
to "change hearts and minds" of state voters on the issue of same-sex
"It takes time, commitment and lots and lots of volunteers to undo
the untruths that our opponents have been telling," said Mark Solomon
of Equality California. "If we do the work at the level we need, we can
have the support we need by 2012."
But the decision was met with scathing criticism from other progressive organizations and gay rights groups.
Yes Equality will defy Equality California's decision and move
forward with other groups to get the matter on the ballot sooner, said
Chaz Lowe, who heads the group. "Any way we slice it, we find the (gay)
community wants to move forward in 2010," he said in a telephone
The 700,000-member Courage Campaign, meanwhile, said 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.
David Comfort, founder of the Equality Network in Los Angeles, said
that by failing to listen to overwhelming sentiment in the gay
community to move immediately on a challenge to Prop. 8, Equality
California no longer deserves support because it has opted to wait
until 2012 "to win back our right to marry and guarantee equal
protection under the law."
With little more than a year until the November 2010 ballot - when
Californians will decide their next governor - San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom this week warned that supporters of same-sex marriage will
need "consensus and a strong foundation of support" to move forward by
the mid-term ballot. "Without that, it's probably not the right time,"
Geoff Kors of Equality California acknowledged that groups that
support a 2010 ballot measure could qualify as late as November and its
supporters may have until April to collect enough signatures to get it
on the ballot. If that happens, "We'd of course support that ... and
try to see victory," he said. "Our goal is equality."
Ron Prentice, executive director of ProtectMarriage.com, which led
the successful campaign for Prop. 8, said his group is "not resting on
our victory from 2008 but working aggressively to educate the public
and help the public understand the very vital role that marriage plays
in our civil society."
Some gay leaders warned that groups opposing same-sex marriage will win when politics splits supporters of such unions.
"Nothing's changed since November," said San Jose lesbian activist
Gloria Nieto. "The conversation is about changing hearts and minds....
and we can't even talk to each other."