Prop. 8 Proponents Stand Ready to Fight Repeal Efforts

Gay rights groups across California announced different dates they will pursue campaigns to repeal Proposition 8.

Equality California, which led an unsuccessful campaign last year against a state amendment banning same-sex marriage, said it will wait until 2012 to go back to the ballot.

Other groups, however, including Courage Campaign and Equality Network, have decided to go ahead with a 2010 campaign.

"Any way we slice it, we find the (gay) community wants to move forward in 2010," Chaz Lowe of Yes Equality told the San Francisco Chronicle.

As gay rights groups remain divided over when to push their efforts, proponents of Proposition 8 are confident voters will reaffirm traditional marriage just as they did last November.

"Notwithstanding the decision by EQCA to shift focus to a 2012 election, which they readily admit is a crass political decision, they will lose then just as surely as they would in 2010 or any other year," said Ron Prentice, executive director of ProtectMarriage.com. "The people have spoken twice on this issue, both times reaffirming traditional marriage. If asked to do so, they will indeed vote again to protect traditional marriage."

Ballot initiatives defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman were approved by a majority of California voters both in 2000 and in 2008. Over 60 percent of voters backed Proposition 22 and 52 percent voted for Proposition 8, which was placed on the ballot months after the state Supreme Court legalized marriage for same-sex couples.

"The pro-gay marriage advocates had all the advantages they could ever hope for in 2008, including a misleading ballot title and summary, the sympathetic (and ultimately proven to be false) claim that a vote for Prop 8 would be a vote to 'divorce 18,000 [same-sex married] couples,' the benefit of asking for a 'no' vote, and a very favorable electorate driven by the historic election of Barack Obama as President," Prentice noted.

"They will never have these advantages again," he said. "But for all they had going for them in 2008, they failed, because the people are not with them. In fact, most public polling shows that support for homosexual marriage has peaked and retreated significantly from its high water mark."

Equality California acknowledged that they need to "change hearts and minds" on same-sex marriage before placing the issue back on the ballot.

Mark Solomon of the San Francisco-based gay rights organization said they need time and volunteers to "undo the untruths" that traditional marriage supporters have been telling.

If the issue ends up being placed on the 2010 ballot, Equality California said it will support the effort.

Prentice isn't worried and said traditional marriage supporters will be ready to again defend marriage successfully whether it's in 2010 or 2012.

ProtectMarriage.com is working aggressively to "educate the public and to help the public continue to understand the very vital role that marriage plays in our civil society," he said.

"While the other side issues many press releases about their activity, we are quietly but effectively building on our majority in California."