- (Photo: AP Images / Steve Yeater)
California voters may have to face the issue of gay marriage again on the 2010 ballot if the state Supreme Court decides to uphold the passage of Proposition 8.
Equality California, a gay rights group which ran the "No on 8" campaign, said this week it intends to launch an effort to put a ballot initiative to reverse the gay marriage ban in two years should current legal efforts fail.
"We will go back to the ballot only after we have exhausted our legal avenues and after we have a majority of voters with us," said Geoffrey Kors, the group's executive director, according to The Associated Press.
While the San Francisco-based organization has indicated that it was not currently active in pursuing a repeal effort, one gay rights group said they have already begun an effort to put an initiative reversing Prop. 8 on the 2010 ballot.
A group called Courage Campaign said it is taking lessons from the "Yes on 8" campaign and attempting to build a grassroots network, similar to the network of churches used to support Prop. 8, that would boost the repeal effort.
"The problem was, the other side ran a better media campaign, and had thousands and thousands of people, typically through churches, who they were organizing," the Campaign's founder Rick Jacobs told Capitol Weekly.
As of Friday, the group garnered over 180,000 signatures toward a petition to repeal Prop. 8.
If a repeal effort does appear on the 2010 ballot, it would be the third time Californian voters has considered a ballot initiative concerning gay marriage.
Last week, state voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, 52 to 48 percent. In 2000, 61 percent approved a similar ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 22, which was opposed by 39 percent of voters.
Following Prop. 8's passage, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit, Strauss v. Horton, on behalf of several same-sex couples and Equality California.
The lawsuits ask the California Supreme Court to block the measure from taking effect, which would allow gay marriages to continue under the Court's ruling in May.
The suits also challenge the validity of the measure and argues that the measure prevents the courts from protecting fundamental rights. "Any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters," argued Equality California in a press release.
Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal firm, has filed a motion to intervene to defend against the lawsuits. A number of Christian-based groups have also filed amicus briefs arguing against the opponents of Prop. 8.
"The law suit seeking to block Proposition 8 is patently frivolous," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, in a statement. "The people have a right to amend their constitution."
Glen Lavy, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said there was "no structural revision to the state constitution" that took place.
"The people have simply restored the definition of marriage that the constitution has always assumed," he stated.
Christians are outraged as thousands of protesters surround Mormon temples and Protestant churches, chanting such words as "Mormon scum" and vandalizing church property and church members' cars.
"What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us! How dare they threaten and attack political opponents? We live a democratic country, not a banana republic ruled by thugs," stated Chuck Colson, an influential evangelical and founder of Prison Fellowship.
At a press conference on Friday, Frank Schubert, co-manager of the campaign supporting Prop. 8, highlighted, "Amidst all this lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials. Not a single elected leader has spoken out against what is happening. Where is Governor Arnold Schwarzenengger while churches are being attacked? And where is Senator Dianne Feinstein while people are losing their jobs and grandmothers are being bullied by an angry mob?"
Leaders of ProtectMarriage.com gathered Friday to voice opposition against attacks and harrassment they say are increasing against them.
According to ProtectMarriage.com, in Sacramento, a musical theater director was forced to resign after he was blacklisted for contributing $1000 to the initiative, numerous churches have had their property defaced, and an unknown white powder was mailed to several Mormon temples and the National Headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization that supported the campaign.
Gay rights advocates, who are riled over the passage of Prop. 8, plan to hold a nationwide protest on Saturday against the measure. In California, the protest is scheduled to take place throughout the state, including Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Modesto, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The state's top court has not indicated when it will decide to whether to take up a the case.
Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage also passed last week in Arizona and Florida.
Connecticut began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this week, joining Massachusetts as the only two states where gay marriage is legal.