Proponents said they failed to collect the nearly 695,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot. Monday was the deadline to submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The volunteer-run group, Restore Equality 2010, will now try to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012, chairman Sean Bohac said.
“Now more than ever, we are confident that repealing Prop. 8 at the earliest opportunity is an imperative to promote all forms of equality,” Bohac wrote in a message to supporters on Facebook.
California outlawed same-sex marriage in November 2008 when voters approved Prop. 8 by a 52 to 48 percent margin. Sonoma County strongly opposed Prop. 8, voting 66 to 34 percent to reject a ban on same-sex marriage.
The timing of the campaign to repeal Prop. 8 created a split within the gay rights community. Equality California, one of the state’s largest gay-rights advocacy groups, decided last August to sit out the 2010 campaign and wait until 2012. The decision, according to The Sacramento Bee, was based on the assumption that the initiative would fare better during a presidential election year, when younger voters hit the polls.
“While we never envisioned that we would have to make it happen without the help of existing LGBT rights and marriage equality organizations, that was the way it turned out,” Bohac said in his Facebook message.
A lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8 is pending before a federal trial judge.
— Ted Appel
Watch Sonoma County