Love Honor Cherish, the grassroots, Los Angeles-based organization pushing a proposed ballot measure to repeal Proposition 8’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, this morning announced it has failed to gather the 694,354 valid signatures from registered voters required by today’s deadline to place its measure on November’s ballot. The group vowed to work toward the repeal of Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2012.
“This is a heartbreaking moment,” executive director John Henning said in a news release. “Despite the dogged efforts of hundreds of volunteers across California, we did not get the signatures we needed within the 150-day window set by the state.”
“Regrettably, Prop 8 will remain as a stain on our constitution until at least 2012, and perhaps later,” he added, challenging activists to rededicate themselves to a 2012 repeal effort.
There had been a lot of debate among same-sex marriage advocates over the merits of trying for a repeal measure in 2010 versus 2012. But Love Honor Cherish board member Lester Aponte said he believes the signature-gathering process, though ultimately unsuccessful, helped spark “hundreds of thousands of conversations with California voters about the right to marry, and we know that we have moved hearts and minds. In the process, we have set the foundation for a future repeal effort and brought hope to thousands whose hearts were broken by the passage of Prop 8.”
Love Honor Cherish was using a web-based social networking tool letting volunteers download the petition form, watch training videos and join teams.
UPDATE @ 4:25 P.M.: I’ve filed a fuller story about this for tomorrow’s print editions, but while that story includes comments from the National Organization for Marriage, other pro-Prop. 8 groups didn’t respond in time to meet my print deadline… so here they are.
From ProtectMarriage.com Executive Director Ron Prentice:
“This effort’s failing is due to dissension between the many organizations claiming leadership, and the lack of significant funding. Although much has been made of recent polls, similar polls taken before the Prop. 8 vote in 2008 also forecast a majority in favor of changing the institution of marriage. All have been proven wrong.”
And from California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring:
“Once again, efforts to change the traditional scope of marriage in California have fallen short and the inability of putting another repeal on the November ballot shows that the popular mandate that passed Proposition 8 is still strong.
“The California Republican Party affirms its support for traditional marriage and urges everyone who has worked tirelessly to protect Prop. 8 to remember that the war is not over and that the sanctity of marriage is worth fighting for.”
UPDATE @ 12:13 P.M. TUESDAY: And here’s what there wasn’t room for in the online/print edition, cut from between the penultimate and final paragraphs…
There were no public “I-told-you-so’s” forthcoming Monday.
“I give a lot of credit to the activists that went out and enthusiastically worked to collect signatures,” Equality California marriage director Marc Solomon said Monday.
“We share their passion for repealing Prop. 8 and restoring the freedom to marry as soon as possible, but we had a different point of view about when the right time to repeal Prop. 8 is,” he said. “We have been focused for the past almost year now on building toward 2012 to doing the hearts-and-minds work, changing people’s perspectives.”
Marriage Equality USA spokeswoman Molly McKay said Monday that it’s time “to come back together, we all have to let go of the past as the past and look toward the future. It takes so much money and so much effort to qualify for a ballot measure, and this was an all-volunteer effort that was undertaken. That’s all it reflects, that there wasn’t quite a consensus about when to go forward.”
Our Family Coalition executive director Judy Appel agreed 2010 was “just too soon.”
“They were very committed to what they were trying to do, but it was a very isolated effort, not the effort of the full community,” she said. “We are relieved that we will have more time to help Californian’s recognize us, respect us and stand with us.”