Two California groups are collecting
signatures for ballot initiatives that would restore gay marriage –
or marriage equality – to California.
On Friday, the group Yes on Equality
was given the green light by the secretary of state to proceed with
collecting signatures for an initiative that would repeal Proposition
8, the hotly contested ballot measure that yanked back the right to
marry from gay and lesbian couples in the state.
California requires nearly 700,000
signatures to qualify an initiative. The group has until August 17
to collect those signatures in order for it to appear on the 2010
ballot. To achieve that goal, the group must collect 6,666
signatures each weekday. Additional signatures are needed to pad
against disqualified signatures sinking the initiative.
The grassroots progressive group the
Campaign is the primary sponsor behind the effort. Also involved
Equality USA, Get
To Know Us First, Join
The Impact, Equality
Action Now and Million
San Jose State University political
science professor Larry Gerstein said passage hinges on voter
“It's close, it's close every
election,” Gerstein told KCBS news. “All the public opinion data
out show that the voters are within two or three points on any
particular day. What that really means is whoever gets the best
turnout at any election is likely to prevail.”
The second petition aims to dissolve
the institution of marriage in California.
The Domestic Partnership Initiative
would substitute domestic partnership for marriage in California law.
It would apply equally to both straight and gay couples, restoring
marriage equality in the state.
Two straight male college students are
behind the initiative. Ali Shams and Kaelan Housewright say
Californians want government out the marriage business.
“A lot of people are ready for this,”
Shams told gay weekly The Bay Area Reporter. “[The gay
marriage fight] hasn't gone anywhere. All we're doing is wasting
more and more money on a hopeless cause, because both sides are
always going to disagree.”
But gay rights leaders in California
appear uninspired by the proposal to replace marriage.
“[W]e don't want to see civil
marriage eliminated for anyone,” Geoff Kors, executive director of
Equality California, the primary backer of the No-on-8 campaign, told
Both groups are organizing before the
California Supreme Court has ruled on a legal challenge to
Proposition 8. That ruling is expected before June.