The gay marriage issue appears headed once again to the California ballot, but not for awhile.Sources tell 10News 2012 may be the earliest the controversial issue will again go before the voters.Its been less than a year since the fight over Proposition 8, but in San Diego and everywhere in California, the signs of the fierce battle over it remain.10News has learned the next battle is likely 3 years away.After the fight over Prop 8, a fierce debate erupted in the gay community about when to go back to the ballot, 10News reported.In an e-mail to supporters in May, Equality California, the state's largest gay-rights group, promised its supporters that 2010 would be a good time.But by July, there was no mention of a date.Now, the group is expected to announce its preference Wednesday. Sources tell 10News the leaders of the group are leaning toward 2012.I'm not surprised, said Mesa College political science professor, Carl Luna.He said he shares the opinion offered by a team of consultants brought in by `Equality California.2012, they said, would give same-sex marriage supporters more time to outreach to minority communities who supported Prop 8.They would also gain more time to raise money and have better demographics during a presidential election.In 2012, you get younger voters. They tend to be disproportionately in favor of gay marriage, and that could be the difference in a close election of overturning Prop 8, Luna said.For many local gay-marriage activists, the news brought mixed reactions and emotions.There is an argument for 2012, on the other hand, nobody wants to wait for their rights, said Stephen Whitburn of `Marriage Equality San Diego.Prop 8 supporters are also digging in.Liz Agle, a gay-marriage opponent who organized sign-wavers, says she'll be ready for another fight.We donated money. We will donate time. We do whatever it takes, Agle said.Sources tell 10News `Equality California's decision is not final and some grass roots groups may continue to press for 2010.10News has learned those same groups may also try to get it on the ballot without `Equality California, although they would face an uphill climb when it comes to raising money.