California AG moves to block ‘shoot the gays’ ballot initiative from going forward

Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday moved to block a proposed ballot initiative that calls for gays to be executed.

Matthew G. McLaughlin, an Orange County, Calif., attorney filed the proposed measure last month.

McLaughlin’s initiative seeks to amend the California penal code to make gay or lesbian sex a capital offense punishable by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” and the distribution of gay “propaganda” a crime punishable by a $1 million fine or banishment from the state.

On Wednesday, Harris filed an action for declaratory relief seeking a state court’s authorization to not issue a title and summary for the initiative.

“As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society.

“Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.”

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Under California’s initiative process, once a sponsor has paid the required $200 filing fee, the attorney general’s office issues official titles and ballot summaries for proposed initiatives before sponsors can circulate signature petitions to qualify their measures to go before voters.

State officials do not have authority to refuse to process initiatives they find objectionable.

Harris, who earlier in her tenure refused to defend a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages when it was challenged in court, said that unless a judge rules otherwise, she will have no choice but to move the measure through the normal channels.

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