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Gay marriage proponents to delay anti-Prop. 8 ballot measure till 2012 [Updated]

August 12, 2009 | 11:35 am

Gaymarriageprotest Leaders of Equality California, one of the state’s largest gay rights groups, announced today it will wait until 2012 to push for an amendment to the California Constitution to permit same-sex marriage.

Many gay rights groups have favored returning the issue to voters as soon as 2010. Leaders at Equality California, which spearheaded the campaign against Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, have said they want to make sure they can win.

They have said they worry about raising the millions of dollars necessary in the current tough economic climate and also that it will take longer than two years to convince enough voters.

Officials at Equality California said they made the decision to wait until 2012 based on discussions with donors and community organizers. The extra time, backers said, will allow for more fundraising and outreach.

Proposition 8 passed by 52% in November after the most expensive campaign in California history over a social issue.

[Updated at 12:05 p.m.: There has been much debate among same-sex marriage backers about when to place a measure on the ballot. There is another group that is considering placing such a measure on the 2010 ballot.

The Prop. 8 victory caused much soul searching among backers of same-sex unions. Some critics said the No-on-8 campaign did not do a good enough job reaching out to Latino and black voters.

The California Supreme Court earlier this year validated the legality of Prop. 8. But challenges to the ballot measure continue in the federal courts.

One high-profile federal lawsuit against Prop. 8 has exposed new strains and divisions within the same-sex marriage movement, as civil rights lawyers who initially condemned the suit now want on board -- and are being rebuffed.

The lawsuit against the anti-same-sex-marriage initiative, launched by Los Angeles political consultant Chad H. Griffin and backed by entertainment industry activists, drew scorn and anger from gay rights lawyers when it was filed in May.

The major gay rights groups called the challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban risky and rash, and warned that an adverse ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could set the movement back decades.

Now that a trial is nearing, the lawyers who denounced the suit want to join as full participants, asking for seats at the table and the ability to shape legal strategy. But the consultant who defied their advice has vowed to "vigorously oppose" their intervention.]

-- Jessica Garrison


Use The Times' interactive timeline to see how the laws in U.S. states regarding rights for same-sex couples have changed since 2000.


Photo: Supporters of same-sex marriage march in May in West Hollywoood. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times