Gay rights activists failed to gather enough signatures to put on the November ballot an initiative to repeal California's marriage protection act.
Supporters of a Prop. 8 repeal needed to gather the signatures of more than 694,000 registered voters by Monday in order to qualify the measure for this year's vote. Restore Equality 2010, the volunteer group that headed the effort, said it did not have enough signatures by the deadline, but did not reveal how many signatures it had gathered.
"Even the minority of Californians who voted against Prop. 8 have accepted that the majority rules and moved on to other issues," commented Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which backs Prop. 8.
But Restore Equality 2010 chairman Sean Bohac has a different explanation for the shortfall in signatures. According to Bohac, the gay rights community was not unified in supporting the effort to get the Prop. 8 repeal on this year's ballot. The larger groups wanted to wait for the 2012 presidential election.
It has been more than a year since 52 percent of California voters supported Prop. 8, the constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and woman.
The California gay marriage battle has since reached the federal court, which has yet to issue a decision on the constitutionality of Prop. 8. Whatever the outcome, however, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected.
A survey released last month showed that for the first time, more Californians support same-sex marriage than oppose it. The Public Policy Institute of California found that 50 percent of the residents now favor same-sex marriage while 45 percent are against it.
The institute had been measuring attitudes on same-sex marriage in California since 2000.