News (USA)

California lawmakers approve resolution denouncing ‘shoot the gays’ ballot initiative

California state capitol in Sacramento.
California state capitol in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Members of the California Assembly are denouncing a Southern California attorney’s proposed ballot measure to make it legal to murder gays and lesbians.

They unanimously approved a resolution Monday saying the Legislature morally and legally opposes the measure.

Matthew McLaughlin, an Orange County, Calif., attorney, filed the proposed the “Sodomite Suppression Act” in February.

The proposed measure 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.

Republican Assemblyman Donald Wagner of Irvine cautioned the Legislature against giving the initiative’s author more than his 15 minutes of fame.

Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell, who is gay, says California must stand up to hate speech; he says silence is acceptance.

Two bills have been introduced to try to thwart such initiatives.

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Under California’s current initiative process, once a sponsor has paid the required $200 filing fee, the attorney general’s office must issue an official title and ballot summary 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.

Attorney General Kamala Harris is asking a judge to toss out the proposed initiative. A Sacramento County judge previously gave Harris until June 25 to prepare an official title and ballot summary for the proposal.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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