Whether groups like it or not, the campaign to overturn Proposition 8 is happening sooner rather than later.

On Thursday, the gay rights group Love Honor Cherish filed ballot language with the state for a measure that seeks to overturn California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.

Last month, Equality California (EQCA), the state's largest gay rights group, announced it was prepared to sit it out until 2012 to mount an effort to repeal California's voter-approved gay marriage ban. EQCA is the group that lead the unsuccessful opposition to Proposition 8 last year.

But Love Honor Cherish is preparing to move now. The filing is the first step to getting on the ballot in 2010.

The proposed amendment would strike out the sentence “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” approved by voters last year and replace it with “Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion” in the state's constitution. Religious organizations would be exempt from performing gay marriages.

If Attorney General Jerry Brown approves the language, then supporters would have until mid-April to gather the nearly 1 million signatures needed to qualify for the November 2010 ballot.

“Starting today, there is new hope for committed gay and lesbian couples who want to get married,” John Henning, executive director of Love Honor Cherish, said in a statement. “We're back on the path toward full equality.”

A handful of smaller gay rights groups have expressed support for moving forward with repeal in 2010, including the 70,000-member Courage Campaign and the Stonewall Democratic Club.