Gay rights advocates still haven’t made a decision about whether to take gay marriage back to California voters.
After 2008’s Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriage in California, there was immediate talk of returning the issue to the ballot to reverse it in 2010. However, gay community leaders ultimately decided to wait until 2012, to watch how a legal battle over the proposition would proceed, and give them more time to garner resources and support.
But as time has passed, there still is no consensus about whether going back to the ballot is the right choice. Now, the group that led the 2008 battle against Prop. 8 says it will make a decision by the end of September.
Meanwhile, the amount of time in which to raise funds for such an effort continues to dwindle.
Over the summer, Equality California held a dozen public meetings to gather input on the issue, but group leaders discovered there was no consensus on the issue about whether to go back to the ballot, spokeswoman Rebekah Orr said.
While some members of the gay community are eager to fight for their rights again — and remain confident that California voters will reverse their 2008 decision — others do not want their community to go through the trauma and financial drain of another painful ballot measure, in which their rights are voted on by members of the general population.
Still others are taking a simple wait-and-see attitude, arguing that the issue will be decided in federal court, and that it is a waste to consider a ballot measure until then, Orr said.
These are the responses that came back during the 12 community meetings, and they are the same ones that the organization’s leadership is grappling with. However, leaders acknowledge the decision cannot be postponed much longer and must be made soon if they are to begin raising the money necessary to launch a statewide political campaign.
Orr said the decision will be made by the end of this month.
“There are certainly people who are very eager to go back on the ballot, and people apprehensive for a number of reasons,” she said. “It really illustrates the complexity of the decision-making process — there are so many factors to consider, a number of good arguments on every side.”
The cases for and against
The pros and cons of attempting to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012:
- Attitudes have changed since 2008; polls now show that most Americans support same-sex marriage.
- Success in court is not certain and could take decades.
- 2012 is a presidential election year, when liberal voters tend to be more engaged.
- Voters just passed Prop. 8 in 2008, and another campaign will be costly for same-sex marriage backers.
- State and federal courts have issued several rulings in support of same-sex marriage.
- Black voter turnout will likely be high due to the Obama campaign, yet black voters backed Prop. 8 by a margin of 70 to 30.