Today, a diverse group of Californians filed ballot language with the State of California for an initiative to repeal Proposition 8 in November 2010, and restore equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.See the proposed ballot language.
“Starting today, there is new hope for committed gay and lesbian couples who want to get married,” said John Henning, Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish, a grassroots group that is spearheading the effort to place the measure on the 2010 ballot. “We’re back on the path toward full equality.”
Love Honor Cherish is one of more than 40 groups that support repealing Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2010. The groups include Stonewall Democrats, the Latino Equality Alliance, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, among others. For a full list, go to www.RepealProp8.com.
Today’s filing is the first step in a process that will place the measure on the November 2010 ballot. In November, the broad coalition of groups supporting the initiative will begin circulating petitions to gather the 1 million signatures needed to qualify the initiative.
Henning called on supporters to mobilize immediately and start raising money for the effort. “Activists across the state have spent the summer organizing and recruiting signature gatherers and donors, and we’ll be continuing that work over the next 50 days,” he said. “When the petitions are ready, we’ll be ready.”
The goal of 1 million signatures, said Henning, will be reached primarily by using an army of motivated volunteers. The campaign will also use new social networking technology designed specifically by Love Honor Cherish, which will build community around the signature gathering process. The signature gathering process will last through April 2010.
Meanwhile, the campaign to restore marriage equality starts today. “Prop 8 passed with only 52% of the vote,” said Henning. “In the next 14 months, with hard work and inspiration, we can change the small percentage of hearts and minds that we need to win.”
Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California Constitution passed by voters in November 2008. It reversed a California Supreme Court decision in May 2008, which held that same-sex couples were guaranteed equal marriage rights under the California Constitution. The new ballot proposition is also a constitutional amendment.
Press release from Restore Equality 2010 campaign:
Los Angeles – Today we are witnessing the launch of the campaign to restore civil marriage equality in 2010 with the submission of ballot language by a coalition of organizations and individuals led by Love Honor Cherish. It is an important step forward as we prepare to send activists throughout California to gather signatures to put the issue back on the ballot in 2010.Rex Wockner reports that Equality California, who ran the No on Prop 8 campaign, helped draft today's proposed ballot language.
Restore Equality 2010 believes today’s submission of ballot language is an effective strategy, because it offers our community the most options as we prepare for the campaign ahead. We applaud all efforts that move us towards the restoration of marriage equality in California as soon as possible, including the important qualitative and quantitative research Courage Campaign is currently conducting as it seeks to determine the most effective message to use on the ballot.
We are in close contact with both Courage Campaign and the Love Honor Cherish coalition, and look forward to facilitating the efforts with all interested parties to determine the most powerful way to move towards our common goal. Courage Campaign’s research seeks the best strategy for the campaign while Love Honor Cherish seeks the advantage of a full 150 days for signature gathering. We are pleased to have the benefit of both strategies as we move forward together.
Should the research being conducted by Courage Campaign show us that another approach offers a greater opportunity for victory, Restore Equality 2010 will be able to refile language and push for fundraising to support a shorter signature gathering period. The campaign will also be ready to mobilize activists the day language is approved by the Secretary of State should the language submitted today prove to be the best choice, thus preserving the full 150 day window to gather signatures.
"We helped Love Honor Cherish draft the language. We don't agree on timing, but we wanted the language to be as good as possible," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors.