California Attorney General asks judge to halt 'Kill gays' ballot initiative

Reuters

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a Sacramento court for permission to stop a controversial ballot initiative on Wednesday. 

Harris attempted to block the Sodomite Suppression Act, which calls for the execution of gays. 

Orange County attorney Matt McLaughlin's proposed initiative also bans advocating for LGBT rights to minors. The act is punishable by a $1 million fine, up to 10 years in prison, and expulsion from the state.

McLaughlin paid a $200 filing fee to sponsor the initiative, and Harris was expected to grant it a title and summary, according to Vox. If McLaughlin could secure at least 365,000 signatures, the initiative would appear on the ballot in November 2016.

Instead, Harris has moved to kill the proposal before it can gain any endorsements. Or is unclear whether McLaughlin would get his $200 back. San Diego Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins praised Harris' legal opposition to the initiative. 

"Attorney General Kamala Harris is doing the right thing by asking the court to allow California to reject an obviously unconstitutional and dangerous initiative proposal that actually promotes murder," the outspoken lesbian said, according to The Times of San Diego

"The proposal represents either the depth of bigotry and hatred or the height of sick publicity stunts — either way it should not be dignified by becoming an official part of the process Californians have to amend the state Constitution."

Some voting advocates have complained that the process for submitting items for the California ballot is too lax, and the fee too low. They argued that raising the fee to $500 or $1,000 would decrease the number of frivolous initiatives that are presented to voters. 

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens, Los Angeles County) and other politicians are working to get McLaughlin disbarred because of his effort. According to Lara, attorneys must show "good moral character" to maintain their job, and an investigation into McLaughlin's background is underway.

In 2004, the controversial attorney proposed an initiative to have the King James Bible taught in schools. The measure failed to make the ballot.

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