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Activists Unveil Unique Social-Networking Tool to Support Signature Gathering Effort

(SACRAMENTO – November 16, 2009)

SignForEquality.com today launched a groundbreaking effort to gather signatures to repeal Proposition 8 and restore equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, marking the first time that social networking technology has been used to qualify a California initiative for the ballot.

“We’re taking names,” said John Henning, who is heading the SignForEquality.com effort as Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish.

“SignForEquality.com will make history by using custom social networking tools, as well as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to support an all-volunteer signature drive to repeal Prop 8. People throughout California can now help us win marriage back by the simple act of signing and collecting signatures.”

Love Honor Cherish launched www.SignForEquality.com as part of the volunteer signature drive, which began today. The site features a downloadable petition form and training videos for signature gatherers, and uses unique social networking technology to help gatherers set goals, build teams, and find signature gathering events.

“In its first day, SignForEquality.com is already the state of the art in California petition signature gathering,” said Henning.

Henning noted that in recent years, signature gathering campaigns have been in the hands of a few powerful elite, who qualify ballot initiatives by spending millions on paid signature gatherers.

“SignForEquality.com brings the campaign back to the people,” said Henning. “We’re going to qualify this initiative person by person, and signature by signature.”

The proponents of the ballot initiative have 150 days to gather approximately 1 million signatures. The signatures are due on April 12, 2010.

Love Honor Cherish is one of more than 40 groups that support repealing Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2010. The groups include the Latino Equality Alliance, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, among others. For a full list, go to www.RepealProp8.com. Love Honor Cherish is also part of the Restore Equality 2010 coalition, which has elected representatives throughout the state.

As signature gathering gets underway, the campaign to change the hearts and minds of voters has already begun and will continue through the November 2010 election.

“Prop 8 passed last year with just 52% of the vote,” said Henning. “Now, a year later, a recent L.A. Times poll says that 51% favor marriage equality. In the next 12 months, we’ll make that margin even bigger.”

Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California Constitution passed by voters in November 2008. It reversed a California Supreme Court decision in May 2008, which held that same-sex couples were guaranteed equal marriage rights under the California Constitution. The new ballot proposition is also a constitutional amendment.

The proposed measure reads as follows:

This amendment would amend an existing section of the California Constitution. Existing language proposed to be deleted is printed in strikeout type. Language proposed to be added is printed in underlined type.

Section 1. To protect religious freedom, no court shall interpret this measure to require any priest, minister, pastor, rabbi, or other person authorized to perform marriages by any religious denomination, church, or other non-profit religious institution to perform any marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs. The refusal to perform a marriage under this provision shall not be the basis for lawsuit or liability, and shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any religious denomination, church or other religious institution.

Section 2. To provide for fairness in the government’s issuance of marriage licenses, Section 7.5 of Article I of the California Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

Love Honor Cherish is a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization committed to repealing Prop 8 in 2010 and to developing a new generation of leadership on this issue. Formed in May 2008 to defeat Prop 8, it raised over $500,000 for the No on 8 campaign and mounted its own outreach and media efforts. For more information, visit www.LoveHonorCherish.org.

Signature Gathering will be taking place in locations throughout the state. For more information about locations and other opportunities for media coverage, contact Mike Roth at 310-433-8685 or mike.roth@lovehonorcherish.org




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