looking at it very carefully," said Marriage Director Marc Solomon,
noting that his group has agreed to wait for another ballot push until
it thinks the movement can raise enough money to win.
"Nobody is counting on a court win," Solomon said. "We would love it, but nobody is counting on it."
of a 2010 or 2012 ballot initiative face a problem: how to decide if
and when to put it on the ballot, with the full support of the movement.
passage of Prop. 8 has given rise to new grassroots activity in
California, with new groups, even, having been formed in its wake. Now,
there are more voices, and it's a more complicated task to reach
consensus on the launch of a political fight. Some are raring to go;
others are more cautious. Many younger activists were shocked by Prop.
8's passage, and there's a good deal of dissatisfaction with how that
The gay rights movement in California includes national-level groups
like Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU, state-wide advocates like
Courage Campaign and Equality California, and local groups, some with
race/ethnic specific focuses.
Those smaller groups could be important to passing a new ballot
measure, given that, according to exit polling, African Americans and
Hispanics voted in favor of Prop. 8, by 70 percent and 53 percent,
respectively. The LGBT minority in California will have to reach out to
other minority groups that opposed them in 2008, and
race/ethnic-specific groups are looking to do some of that legwork.
As a result, no single entity or oligarchy is in charge of the gay
rights movement in California. Conference calls and discussions between
groups now focus on how a decision will eventually be made on whether or not to put gay marriage on the ballot--a framework for making the call.
"It's a process of trying to figure out what a campaign structure would
look like, and how we should decide whether to launch a campaign,"
To Pizer, the legal and political fights are connected.
think success in the trial court in this litigation would be very
motivating for people, and it probably would spur some of the outreach
and educational work in a positive way, because it buoys people's
spirits," Pizer said.
A good deal of campaigning would focus on Los Angeles County, which, to
the surprise of some activists, voted in favor of Prop. 8 despite being
heavily Democratic. As Solomon said, you can't pass a progressive
ballot initiative in California without LA County.
Gay rights groups seem to have a good handle on the task ahead of them.
They know who voted for Prop. 8 in 2008, and they know where to direct
their field efforts.
The task before them is apparent; it's just a question of whether the
time is right--whether they think they can win, and whether a minority
community that fought for its rights and lost, crushingly, is ready to
take up the hard fight again two years later.