Gay marriage activists in Oregon said Monday that they will return the issue to the ballot box in 2014, a decade after voters approved the state's constitutional amendment which limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

Saying the timing was not right, activists decided to sit out 2012.

But Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini is optimistic about next year.

“I think people are really coming to understand that marriage is unique and special and you don't want to deny that to anybody else,” Frazzini told Oregon Live.

Opponents said they have been preparing for the news for months.

“We have to communicate with voters why it is important to preserve marriage” as solely a heterosexual union, said Teresa Harke, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Family Council.

Oregon, one of 29 states with a gay ban, is not the first to consider repeal. Efforts are also underway in Michigan, Ohio and Colorado. However, Oregon, which currently recognizes gay couples with domestic partnerships, appears to be the strongest candidate to succeed.

Supporters need 116,284 signatures to make the ballot. Frazzini said her group would begin gathering those signatures on Valentine's Day.