A California gay activist group has dropped its campaign for a vote on ‘gay marriage’ in the state next year.
Courage Campaign says it does not have the leadership or financial support to win a vote in 2010.
Proposals to legalise gay marriage have failed in all 31 states in which they have been put to a popular vote.
Chair and founder of Courage Campaign, Rick Jacobs, pointed to defeats in other US states in his admission that a 2010 vote win was unattainable.
He said: “We must build our ultimate victory from the lessons of our recent disappointments.
“We know that we can change hearts and minds through real conversations with our friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
“This takes time and has to be built to scale – so we can’t delay. When we go back to the ballot, we must be strong, clear and embracing.”
In March Prime Minister Gordon Brown attacked Proposition 8, which reserves marriage for one man and one woman in California, as “unacceptable”.
Proposition 8 was passed by a public vote last year, overturning an earlier court ruling allowing gay marriage in the state.
Mr Brown raised the issue at a Downing Street reception to celebrate LGBT History Month.
He had just returned from his visit to meet US President Barack Obama and said: “What I saw in America tells me what we have got to do.
“This Proposition 8 in California, this attempt to undo good that has been done, this attempt to create divorces for 18,000 people who were perfectly legally brought together in partnerships.
“This is unacceptable and this shows why we have always got to be vigilant, always got to fight homophobic behaviour and any form of discrimination.”
Last month voters in Maine rejected same-sex marriage after a “people’s veto” received support from a majority of voters.
Maine’s own legislature had approved same-sex marriage in May, but popular opposition led to it facing a referendum in November.
Question 1 on the Maine ballot read: “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”
Speaking after the result, Mary Conroy, spokeswoman for Stand for Marriage Maine, said: “I feel energized, overcome, overjoyed for the family and the people of Maine.
“Clearly, this tonight is the people of Maine speaking.”
Jeff Flint, who also worked on the campaign to defend traditional marriage in California in 2008, said the Maine outcome was “further evidence that although voters have shown tolerance toward same-sex couples, they draw the line at marriage”.