08/05/2010 11:11 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Will California's Next Governor and Attorney General Stand Strong Against Prop. 8?

Victory is sweet. Yesterday the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled that Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry, is unconstitutional. We're getting closer by the moment to the day when all loving couples in California will have the same rights, the same responsibilities, the same respect.

We won the first round. The case will now be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court and possibly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. We have to keep supporting it as it progresses.

Why November Matters
Who can keep the case on track for a win for equality? You, and two of four people: Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman, Kamala Harris or Steve Cooley.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown made the unprecedented decision to not defend the discriminatory Prop. 8 in court. The state of California refused to defend its own law. Under bipartisan leadership, it withheld its skilled lawyers and immense legal resources, leaving only an anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) extremist group to defend Prop. 8.

The moral stance of Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown against Prop. 8 undoubtedly cleared the path for today's victory. We owe them our gratitude. As the federal case against Prop. 8 progresses, and as we work to restore the freedom to marry at the ballot box, it will only become more important that our governor, attorney general and other officials be firm in standing for full LGBT equality.

That's where you and I come in. This November, we must do everything we can to elect only those candidates who are 100 percent in support of LGBT equality -- from voting to donating to getting involved in campaigns. And we have to oppose those candidates who would continue to deny us the same rights that others enjoy.

Who Will Refuse to Defend Prop. 8?
When it comes to the federal case against Prop. 8 and the efforts to restore the freedom to marry for all loving couples, no offices matter more than that of governor and attorney general. Our governor and attorney general can decide whether or not to throw the state's weight behind Prop. 8 in court. And as the most visible figureheads in our state government, they can use their influence to further our march towards full equality, or to try to prevent us from achieving full equality.

Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and attorney general candidate Kamala Harris have already said that they will refuse to defend Prop. 8 in court. Steve Cooley, candidate for attorney general, has said that he would defend Prop. 8. Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman hasn't said yet if she would defend Prop. 8, but when the California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 in 2009, she said it was the right thing for the court to do.

Equality California is calling on Meg Whitman and Steve Cooley to state on the record that they will refuse to defend Prop. 8 in court. We want them to know that, if they choose to stand on the side of bigotry, they can expect us to oppose them vehemently with our votes and our checkbooks. And we want you to tell them the same thing.

Our opponents know that this November's elections will make a huge difference in the efforts to restore marriage equality. The National Organization for Marriage has already spent $600,000 trying to push anti-equality candidates into office, and they are planning to spend much more. They are backing California Assembly candidate Andrew Pugno, one of the architects of Prop. 8, and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who supports Prop. 8, among others. We can't let NOM and their ilk roll back our progress.

Please, join me today in letting our state's candidates for governor and attorney general know that they can expect us to take our commitment for full equality all the way to the ballot box in November. We are the ones who can set the tone in our state for years to come.