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Advocacy group will not lead ballot effort to overturn Proposition 8

Thursday, October 6, 2011
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California’s largest gay rights advocacy group on Wednesday announced it would not lead a ballot campaign to undo Proposition 8, the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Equality California said it would instead devote its resources to a public education and messaging campaign to counter beliefs that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry harms children.

Equality California said that while public opinion on marriage for same-sex couples has increased since Proposition 8 passed in 2008, support continues to hover near 50 percent—indicating more work must be done before asking voters to overturn Proposition 8 through what would inevitably be a very expensive and difficult campaign.

In addition, the Perry v. Brown legal challenge to Proposition 8 has provided hope that the freedom to marry can be restored in California and create a legal precedent to protect marriage without the potential risks and expense of a multi-million dollar campaign in these very trying economic times.

EQCA said its new public education project, “The Breakthrough Conversation,” is designed to overcome the psychological, cultural and emotional triggers around LGBT people and kids that continue to impede securing full equality, including the freedom to marry.

“For decades, opponents of equality have used prejudicial and dehumanizing myths about LGBT people being a harm to kids and families as a weapon against us in the legislature, in the courts and at the ballot,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia.

Freedom to Marry Founder and President Evan Wolfson said his organization supports EQCA’s decision to forego a ballot campaign in 2012

“Freedom to Marry will continue to work with Equality California and our many other partners to engage Californians in the crucial conversations necessary to grow the pro-marriage majority and permanently restore the freedom to marry in California as soon as possible,” said Wolfon.

Freedom to Marry was instrumental in the public education campaign in New York which led to passage of that state’s Marriage Equality Act in June.

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