Californians this week noted the first anniversary of the passage of Proposition 8, which bars same-sex marriage. While the media has been quiet on the issue of late, marriage rights advocates are gearing up for a repeal of the 2008 measure, which overturned a California Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage.
At a gathering of community members held at the Church in Ocean Park on November 6, activists Andy Cabrera and Devin Donner of Restore Equality explained the process that will be taking place over the next year.
Restore Equality is “an umbrella group composed of many other groups,” according to Cabrera. While some marriage rights activists want to wait until the national election year of 2012 to put a new measure on the state ballot, Cabrera said that 2010, with the state elections, would be better. The feeling of Restore Equality members is that even if the measure, once on the ballot, fails with voters in 2010, it will provide a growing momentum toward 2012, if need be. “We just can’t sit around and wait and do nothing until then,” Cabrera added. “Every day that we have to wait is another day of injustice.”
Restore Equality needs to collect 1.2 million signatures by April 16 to qualify for the November 2010 ballot. The signature drive will officially begin this November 16. A draft petition is awaiting approval from the Secretary of State.
What the movement needs is volunteers to gather signatures (Restore Equality is a totally volunteer effort). A series of Town Hall meetings are being held in various areas of Los Angeles, which has been divided into Districts with “hub coordinators.” The Church in Ocean Park’s Reverend Janet McKeithen is also planning to hold meetings at the Church to coordinate and train volunteers.
The goal for Los Angeles County is to collect 300,000 signatures.
“We need 7000 signatures a day,” said Donner, Hub Coordinator for District 4, which includes Santa Monica. “It sounds rather daunting-but I think we can do this.”
Communicating the need for marriage equality is also crucial but it is a separate strategy from signature gathering. “If we can gather enough signatures, we can bring people aboard who are apprehensive,” said Donner.
Cabrera and Donner also discussed the need for “messaging” that is consistent. “The TV ads from the No on 8 campaign were not consistent-the Yes on 8 ads were very consistent,” Cabrera noted. “We are analyzing that data now to make sure we put out a consistent message next time.”
Those who are interested in helping with the Repeal of Prop 8 can contact Restore Equality through Andy Cabrera, Associate District Representative and Field Organizer, 310.903.6360, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Santa Monica Hub Coordinator Devin Donner, 310.613.1765, email@example.com. Reverend McKeithen will also be announcing future marriage equality events at the Church.