Courage Campaign, a statewide group that supports same-sex marriage rights, is due to announce today if it will continue to support putting a same-sex marriage measure on the ballot next year or if it will join another group that wants to delay the measure to 2012.
The online activist group has 700,000 members, mostly Californians, who voted by an 83 percent majority in May to support a ballot measure in 2010.
Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs said the group will announce today whether it has raised an initial $100,000 from members, to be matched by another $100,000 from partner organizations, for research on a possible 2010 initiative.
Yesterday, the state's largest gay civil rights group--San Francisco-based Equality California--announced that it will support putting a same-sex marriage measure on the ballot in 2012.
Marc Solomon, Equality California's marriage director, said that "2012 simply appears by the numbers to be a better year" because younger people tend to vote in presidential elections compared to gubernatorial elections.
Solomon said younger people support same-sex marriage in much higher numbers than older voters, and that waiting will also allow a larger number of young people to reach voting age.
Equality California estimates that support for gay marriage would be about 4 percent higher in 2012 than it would be in 2010, which Solomon said "is not a huge difference, but in a situation where the numbers are so close, it's a meaningful difference."
Solomon said Equality California's decision was based on "talking to people over the past few months and experience working for marriage equality over the years."
Equality California has vowed to try to overturn Proposition 8, an initiative approved by state voters last November that banned same-sex marriage, but supporters had been split on whether to pursue a new initiative in 2010 or 2012.
Equality California executive director Geoff Kors said that although it advocates waiting until 2012 to put a measure on the ballot, the group would support a 2010 initiative push by another group.
"If people can raise the money and get the signatures, we'll support it in 2010, but this is our view," he said.
Equality California will continue soliciting feedback on the issue and will hold a virtual online town hall from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today. To join the town hall, visit www.livestream.com/equalitycalifornia.
Proposition 8, approved by 52 percent of voters on Nov. 4, 2008, changed the California Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman.