Gay Rights Supporters Gear Up for Another Fight

September 24, 2009 1:06:23 AM PDT
Some gay rights supporters in the valley are gearing up for a 2010 ballot initiative to repeal the statewide ban on gay marriage. This, even though one of the state's largest gay rights organizations has decided to wait until 2012.About thirty central valley gay rights supporters met in a Fresno State classroom, mobilizing for yet another fight at the ballot box. "This is just something that's just that important. I believed in it before I ever had a gay daughter. It's just how it has to be," said Lia Pendergrass of Fresno.

The group Restore Equality 2010 is trying to repeal Proposition 8, the statewide ban on gay marriage approved by voters last year. The group will soon start gathering signatures to get on the November 2010 ballot, even though the much larger group Equality California has chosen to wait until 2012. "We lost in 2008. That means we don't take a seat, we don't step back and say we're going to wait three years, because everyday that this goes on, it hurts us. It hurts our community," said Jay Matthew with Restore Equality 2010.

Now the group faces the daunting task of raising money, gathering signatures, and changing the hearts and minds of voters. Pastor Jim Franklin, a staunch supporter of Proposition 8, says the group's efforts come as no surprise but the people of California have already spoken. He said the ballot initiative could be an act of desperation from a group that's obviously divided. "One thing we do know that is united is the people of California. They voted not once, but twice, and it was confirmed by the Supreme Court. It's a part of the law. We know how the state feels about it," said Franklin.

In order to get on the ballot, Restore Equality 2010 will have to collect nearly 700,000 signatures. Even though the state's largest gay rights group isn't on board just yet, local organizers are confident they'll come around once the signatures are gathered.

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