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By Kathleen Gilbert

SACRAMENTO, California, September 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A coalition of 40 organizations last Thursday submitted an initiative to the CA Secretary of State for the 2010 ballot to open legal marriage to homosexual couples.

The Los Angeles homosexualist group Love Honor Cherish led the Restore Equality 2010 coalition in submitting the ballot proposal Thursday.

The proposal would repeal the language in the California state constitution declaring that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” and would instead read: “Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.”

The proposed language includes a provision to prevent religious ministers from being forced by the courts “to perform any marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs.”

If state Attorney General Jerry Brown approves the submission, it will have 150 days starting November 17 to gather the 694,354 valid signatures needed to launch it onto the 2010 ballot.

Yet the state's homosexualist groups are significantly divided on whether to wait on the proposal until 2012.  The Leaders of Equality California, one of the largest such groups in the state and the driving force behind last year's “No on 8” campaign, announced last month that it would wait to push for the amendment.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Gate reports that the Courage Campaign has invested more than $200,000 to conduct what it calls the “most extensive research” into Californians' attitudes toward same-sex “marriage.” The project is headed by Steve Hildebrand, President Obama's former deputy campaign manager.

ProtectMarriage.com executive director Ron Prentice responded to the various prospective ballot initiatives last month, saying: “The people have spoken twice on this issue, both times reaffirming traditional marriage. If asked to do so, they will indeed vote again to protect traditional marriage.”

“For all they had going for them in 2008, they failed, because the people are not with them,” said Prentice.  “In fact, most public polling shows that support for homosexual marriage has peaked and retreated significantly from its high water mark.”

Prentice indicated that ProtectMarriage.com, the online headquarters for last year's Proposition 8 campaign, is “nonetheless not resting on our victory from 2008, but working aggressively to educate the public and to help the public continue to understand the very vital role that marriage plays in our civil society.” 

“While the other side issues many press releases about their activity, we are quietly but effectively building on our majority in California,” he said.  “But whether in 2010, 2012, or beyond, ProtectMarriage.com will be ready to defend marriage and emerge victorious again.”

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