The largest gay civil rights group in California is due to announce today whether it supports putting a same-sex marriage measure on the ballot in 2010 or 2012.

San Francisco-based Equality California has vowed to try to overturn Proposition 8, a voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage, by campaigning for a new initiative that would restore a right to gay and lesbian marriage.

But gay marriage supporters have been divided on whether a ballot effort would be more successful in 2010 or 2012.

Equality California says its recommendation, to be announced at 11 a.m., is the product of “many conversations with community members across the state, coalition partners, donors and political strategists.”

Spokeswoman Vaishalee Raja said the group also sought to analyze whether public opinion has changed enough to support a same-sex marriage initiative and whether advocates can raise the estimated $50 million needed for a successful campaign.

Equality California Marriage Director Marc Solomon said earlier this year, “We do not underestimate the challenge of implementing a strong ballot campaign….But we have confidence that we can and will prevail.”

Another statewide group, Courage Campaign, is due to announce Thursday whether it will keep open the possibility of a 2010 ballot effort for at least a few more weeks.

The online activist group has 700,000 members, mostly Californians, who voted by an 83 percent majority in May to support a ballot measure in 2010.

Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs said the group will announce Thursday whether it has raised an initial $100,000 from members, to be matched by another $100,000 from partner organizations, for research on a possible 2010 initiative.

Jacobs said that while views on which date is best have been divided, “This community is more united that people give us credit for.”

He said, “I do believe that everyone is ultimately going to work together.”

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