SACRAMENTO --- Supporters of "gay marriage" in California began collecting signatures Nov. 16 for a proposed constitutional amendment that would ask voters next year to overturn Proposition 8.
If successful, California would become the first state where voters approve the redefinition of marriage.
The drive is being organized by the group Love Honor Cherish, which must collect nearly 700,000 valid signatures by mid-April to qualify the amendment for the ballot. The group, through, is aiming for 1 million signatures in light of the fact that petition drives nearly always result in thousands of invalid petitions. The amendment would appear on the November 2010 ballot.
The amendment would strike the Prop 8 language from the state constitution -- "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" -- and replace it with the following: "Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion."
Love Honor Cherish began collecting signatures the same day the California secretary of state's office approved the ballot language. The group faces long odds, particularly since it says it will avoid using paid signature gatherers -- something that Prop 8 supporters used and which nearly every successful constitutional amendment campaign in the state has used, The Sacramento Bee reported. Love Honor Cherish hopes to gather the signatures through social networking sites and through its website, SignforEquality.com. Petitions must be downloaded and mailed.
The drive is beginning at a time when homosexual activist groups in the state are divided. For instance, Equality California -- a major supporter of "gay marriage" -- is not backing the petition drive and instead is aiming for 2012 or later for its own petition drive.
Proposition 8 passed in 2008, 52-48 percent. It reversed a California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized "gay marriage."