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Major Fundraising Campaign Announced for 2010 Equality

San Francisco, CA – At rallies yesterday in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno marking the somber first anniversary of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, organizers announced the launch of the first major fundraising campaign to place a marriage equality initiative on the California ballot in November 2010.

Organized by Yes! on Equality and TruthandHope.org, in collaboration with Restore Equality 2010, the goal of the “Million for a Million” campaign is to raise the $1 million necessary to fund getting the more than one million signatures needed to place a marriage equality initiative on the ballot.

Undaunted by Tuesday night’s loss in Maine, organizers will redouble their efforts to win marriage equality in California next year.

“We cannot let the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and its allies, who are willing to spend millions of dollars, defy campaign laws and twist the truth, to deny us our rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution – equal protection under the law,” said Chaz Lowe, founder of Yes! on Equality “With the right ballot language, our polling shows solid support for marriage equality in California. With the right campaign, we believe we can win.”

Polling conducted in May shows a majority — 54 percent — of California voters support initiative stating that marriage between any two consenting adults is valid or recognized. That same poll found majority support for gay marriage if a provision were included to protect the First Amendment right of churches – so that no church could ever be forced to perform marriages if they choose not to.

“The only thing we learned from Maine last night is that the forces against equality are still strong, but not unbeatable. All over the margins are close, this was not a landslide, the same with California,” said Eugene Hedlund, founder of TruthandHope.org. “Are Frank Schubert and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) going to decide who has what rights in America or are the people going to decide? Is California ready to once again lead not only the country but the world in progressive, inclusive and forward thinking ideals or is that California just a memory?”

Tapping into the anger of Proposition 8 and the loss in Maine, the “Million for a Million” campaign will include an online fundraising appeal to a network of more than 400,000 grassroots activists, fundraising events in Southern California, Northern California and the Central Valley, and outreach to major donors within the LGBT community in California and throughout the country.

“With a sophisticated online component and with the support we have among the grassroots, I believe we can raise the money necessary to move the campaign for 2010 to the next level,” said Hedlund, whose organization won awards for its work on the Obama campaign.

Organizations throughout the state have endorsed the “Million for a Million” campaign including: Yes! on Equality; TruthandHope.org; Equality Network; One Struggle, One Fight; Meet in the Middle for Equality; and Restore Equality 2010, whose members include Love Honor Cherish, SAME, Stonewall Democrats, Marriage Equality USA, Latino Equality Alliance and more.

“NOM is attacking and misrepresenting LGBT families state-by-state, capitalizing on people’s fear as they go to ballot box and hurting all of us in the process. They must be stopped,” said Lowe, whose organization filed the first ballot language for a 2010 marriage equality initiative. “We need the community and our allies to know that they have a choice to either let those attacks stand or to stand up for the equality we deserve. Waiting is not an option.”

Donations to “Million for a Million” can be made online at: http://www.millionforamillion.com.