Monday, November 16, 2009

Website Launched for Volunteer-Based Signature Gathering Campaign for 2010 Prop 8 Repeal

UPDATE: the organizing group Restore Equality 2010, has issued the following in response to the signature gathering campaign.

Restore Equality 2010, the statewide coalition of organizations committed to repealing Californiaʼs Proposition 8 in 2010, applauds the launch of the petition drive and social networking site by its coalition member Love Honor Cherish, and is ready to implement a statewide plan to support the volunteer signature-gathering effort.

The proponents of the ballot initiative have until April 12, 2010 to gather approximately 1 million signatures.

“This is the moment activists across our great state have been waiting for,” said Jeffrey Taylor, spokesperson for Restore Equality 2010. “Restore Equality 2010 is thrilled to mobilize in support of and Love Honor Cherishʼs inspiring and unwavering stand for the immediate restoration of marriage equality in California. The petition drive will be bolstered by our statewide grassroots effort.”

Since the grassroots organizationʼs establishment on August 29, 2009, Restore Equality 2010 has been working diligently to implement The Davis Plan, a democratic structure to ensure the repeal effort covers all geographic regions, populations and supportive organizations across the state. “We are clear that we have a winning structure, and we are clear that the grassroots is the best place to source the repeal campaign,” said Taylor. “The grassroots is nimble enough to embrace the best strategies and tactics to conduct an effective campaign, such as the first-of-its-kind social networking site for our petition drive,”


Love Honor Cherish (LHC) the grassroots group leading the charge for a 2010 initiative to restore marriage equality in California, has today launched, a social site that will be the hub for the volunteer-based signature gathering campaign to put the Prop 8 repeal on the 2010 ballot.

Here's their press release: today launched a groundbreaking effort to gather signatures to repeal Proposition 8 and restore equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, marking the first time that social networking technology has been used to qualify a California initiative for the ballot.

“We’re taking names,” said John Henning, who is heading the effort as Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish. “ will make history by using custom social networking tools, as well as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to support an all-volunteer signature drive to repeal Prop 8. People throughout California can now help us win marriage back by the simple act of signing and collecting signatures.”

Love Honor Cherish launched as part of the volunteer signature drive, which began today. The site features a downloadable petition form and training videos for signature gatherers, and uses unique social networking technology to help gatherers set goals, build teams, and find signature gathering events. “In its first day, is already the state of the art in California petition signature gathering,” said Henning.

Henning noted that in recent years, signature gathering campaigns have been in the hands of a few powerful elite, who qualify ballot initiatives by spending millions on paid signature gatherers. “ brings the campaign back to the people,” said Henning. “We’re going to qualify this initiative person by person, and signature by signature.”

The proponents of the ballot initiative have 150 days to gather approximately 1 million signatures. The signatures are due on April 12, 2010.

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 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 Love Honor Cherish is also part of the Restore Equality 2010 coalition, which has elected representatives throughout the state.

As signature gathering gets underway, the campaign to change the hearts and minds of voters has already begun and will continue through the November 2010 election. “Prop 8 passed last year with just 52% of the vote,” said Henning. “Now, a year later, a recent L.A. Times poll says that 51% favor marriage equality. In the next 12 months, we’ll make that margin even bigger.”

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.

The proposed measure reads as follows:

This amendment would amend an existing section of the California Constitution. Existing language proposed to be deleted is printed in strikeout type. Language proposed to be added is printed in underlined type.

Section 1. To protect religious freedom, no court shall interpret this measure to require any priest, minister, pastor, rabbi, or other person authorized to perform marriages by any religious denomination, church, or other non-profit religious institution to perform any marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs. The refusal to perform a marriage under this provision shall not be the basis for lawsuit or liability, and shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any religious denomination, church or other religious institution.

Section 2. To provide for fairness in the government’s issuance of marriage licenses, Section 7.5 of Article I of the California Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.


Signature Gathering will be taking place in locations throughout the state. For more information about locations and other opportunities for media coverage, contact Mike Roth at 310-433-8685 or
Back in July, LHC released their Blueprint for Equality, their strategy to a 2010 victory. It projects that, over the course of a winning campaign, they will need to enlist 12,500 volunteers and raise $31.3 million to repeal Prop 8.

Specifically for the signature gathering phase, LHC wants to avoid spending $2 per signature through paid signature gatherers, which could cost millions. So their focus is an all-volunteer effort, which is quite a daunting task. The Blueprint states:
An all-volunteer signature gathering effort would be a major undertaking. It takes about 4-6 hours to collect 100 signatures in a public place. Therefore, to get the required 1 million signatures, it would take, for example: (1) 5,000 volunteers spending one full day at a shopping center, or a full evening at a bar to get 100 signatures, for a total of 500,000 signatures, plus (2) 500 “super-volunteers” each doing this 10 times over the course of 5 months, for an additional 500,000 signatures. This is a total of 5,500 volunteers, a number that is large but attainable given the high level of interest in repealing Prop 8. It is also important to note that signature gathering can occur anywhere in the state. The only requirement is that the signatures and the petition circulators are registered voters.
To get involved in this historical effort, go to

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