Backers of a proposed initiative that would repeal California's gay marriage ban today unveiled an online signature-gathering campaign they sail will utilize social networking to the democratic fullest: The goal for nonprofit group Love Honor Cherish is to get 1 million signatures in 150 days in order to put its ballot proposition in front of voters one year from now.

It's an ambitious move for an initiative process that usually breaks ground with the help of pricey, on-the-street signature-gathering firms. And although Love Honor Cherish is going high-tech and DIY, the state of California is still lagging in its acceptance of such technology (petitions cannot be signed or accepted online despite federal law that has legitimized digital signatures), so the group is improvising: Supporters can download the forms, sign them, and send them in.

“If it's a matter of them taking money, then they'll figure it out,” chuckles group spokesman Mike Roth, referring to online tax filing. “I wish the state would enter the 21st Century and allow some of this stuff to be done electronically.”

The effort will use social networking to help volunteers form signature gathering teams in their communities. And Love Honor Cherish's SignForEquality.com site also features training videos for signature gatherers. It is “the state of the art in California petition signature gathering,” said Love Honor Cherish executive director John Henning.

“We're taking names,” he said. “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”

LA Weekly