A push to put a repeal of Proposition 8 on the November ballot has fizzled, as proponents announced today they failed to collect the nearly 700,000 valid voter signatures to qualify their proposed initiative.
"Our signature collection effort may have fallen short, but we stand tall as being the only statewide campaign that fought for repealing Proposition 8 in 2010," Sean Bohac, Chair of the Restore Equality 2010 Statewide Advisory Panel, said in a statement.
The group, Restore Equality 2010, had split with Equality California, one of the state's largest gay-rights advocacy groups, on when to put a repeal of the 2008 Proposition 8 on the ballot. EQCA and other groups decided last year to hold off on ballot action until 2012, saying that strategy would allow more time to build support and that the measure would likely fare better during a presidential election year, when more younger voters hit the polls.
Proponents of the 2010 proposed initiative said they plan to join forces with the other gay-rights groups pushing to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012, beginning a signature-collecting drive to qualify a measure in summer 2011.
"Our campaign is now focused on 2012, and that effort starts today," Bohac said in the statement. "We will continue to fight for marriage equality every year until the battle is won."
Though proponents cited recent polls showing majority support for same-sex marriage as a sign of momentum, critics said the measure's failure shows Californians have accepted the results of Prop 8.
"Efforts to repeal Prop 8 failed because the majority of Californians do not want to revisit this issue: Even the minority of Californians who voted against Prop 8 have accepted that the majority rules and moved on to other issues," said Brian Brown, executive director of National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage.
This post was updated at 2:27 p.m. with a statement from Brian Brown.