Prop. 8 backers unsurprised as failed petition drive stalls repeal effort

Protesters urging the repeal of Prop. 8.
Protesters urging the repeal of Prop. 8.


Backers of an initiative to redefine marriage in California have failed to gather enough signatures for the November ballot, an outcome which did not surprise a leader with the Proposition 8 campaign. Looking forward to a 2012 rematch on the issue, he says Californians’ support for marriage is deep but continued vigilance is warranted.

The failed petition initiative sought to overturn Prop. 8, which itself overturned a California Supreme Court decision that required the state to recognize same-sex “marriages.”

More than 694,000 signatures of registered voters were required by Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Initiative organizers would not disclose how many signatures they gathered.

"It wasn't close enough to submit signatures to county registrars," said Sean Bohac, a leading advisor for Prop. 8 opponent Restore Equality 2010. The group raised about $10,550.

Supporters of Prop. 8 said the failure shows Californians support the present law.

"Even the minority of Californians who voted against Prop. 8 have accepted that the majority rules and moved on to other issues,” Brian Brown, executive director of Prop. 8 backer the National Organization for Marriage, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Opponents of Prop. 8 have debated whether to push for its repeal in 2010 or 2012, with the most influential groups choosing to wait.

A recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California claimed that for the first time more voters in the state support same-sex “marriage” than oppose it, with 50 percent in favor and 45 percent in opposition.

CNA spoke about the petition drive with Jeff Flint, campaign manager for Prop. 8.

He said he was “not surprised” by the petition failure.

Though he did not know how many signatures appeal backers had gathered, he said there were “not that many.”

“Most of the mainstream pro-gay marriage groups had already abandoned the 2010 effort, because they knew it was doomed to failure.”

Asked about Prop. 8 opponents’ plans for 2012, he said supporters “welcome the opportunity and challenge.”

“The voters of California have a depth of support for the institution of marriage that will sustain through the challenge of gay marriage activists, regardless of when or where. Marriage has won in every state in which the voters get their say,” Flint said.

Responding to the Public Policy Institute of California poll, he said no public polls had Prop. 8 over 50 percent either.

“So we don't give too much credibility to new polling saying there has been any significant shift in public opinion to support gay marriage.”

If opponents of Prop. 8 thought they had the support they would be moving forward this year, Flint argued.

“The fact that they did not put the measure on the ballot this year shows that they do not have confidence they would win.”

CNA asked about claims that older opponents of same-sex “marriage” would be replaced by younger voters who favor it.

“The opposition's argument about the inevitability of gay marriage due to demographic trends is vastly overblown,” Flint replied. “The fact is that if we based public policy on 18-25 year-olds, we would have vastly different public policy in a whole host of issues.”

He noted that younger voters are generally unmarried, childless, and often don’t work or pay taxes.

“Most have not even voted yet, even though they can,” he continued.

“As they age, they marry, they have kids, they become concerned about the values that society teaches their own children, and they become more conservative on issues such as marriage.”

Nonetheless, Flint advised supporters of marriage to “be vigilant.”

“We should push back against the popular culture that seeks to spread a message that gay marriage is just fine, with no consequences for the institution, society at large, and especially children,” he said, advocating education about marriage as “the very foundation of society.”

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