California gay rights groups on different schedules for reclaiming same-sex marriage

One of the state’s largest gay rights groups announced Wednesday it will wait until 2012 to push for an amendment to the California Constitution permitting same-sex marriage, but other organizations with the same agenda insisted they want to bring the issue back to voters in 2010.

Leaders of Equality California, which spearheaded the campaign against Proposition 8, said they planned to wait until the next presidential election and released a road map for repealing the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

“If we thought November 2010 was the best time to go, the time when we thought we could win back the freedom to marry, we would go . . . But we don’t,” said Marc Solomon, Equality California’s marriage director.

In the analysis and plan titled “Winning Back Marriage Equality in California,” the organization said it would wait until 2012 to allow more time for fundraising and outreach, among other reasons. Most of the group’s top 100 donors to last year’s No-on-8 campaign said they would be reluctant or unwilling to participate in a campaign in 2010.


Equality California estimates that a winning campaign would need between $30 million and $50 million.

Meanwhile, some organizations, including the Los Angeles-based Courage Campaign, which bills itself as a multi-issue advocacy group, have said they would try to bring an initiative to the ballot next year. The Courage Campaign sent an e-mail to its members Wednesday touting fundraising efforts that leaders say prove there is momentum in challenging the ban as soon as possible.

The e-mail said the group had raised $136,000 in the previous few days to “finance the research necessary” to go to the ballot in 2010.

“We’re not going to let the calendar decide for us when we can win,” said Courage Campaign Chairman Rick Jacobs.

“This is an enormous issue for our members. A lot of our growth occurred in the post-Proposition 8 era. Our members have been adamant.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage have said both dates are inappropriate, pointing out that California voters have twice in the last nine years said no to gay marriage.

Also Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker ordered all parties in a federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 to resubmit their case management statements because the originals failed “to get down to the specifics of how we are going to proceed,” according to a copy of the legal order.

Walker ordered that the new statements be submitted by Monday.