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California AG Wants To Stop ‘Sodomite Suppression Act’

Richard Vogel / AP / File

In this Nov. 16, 2012 file photo, California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles.

Richard Vogel / AP / File

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has gone to court seeking to stop a proposed ballot initiative.

Harris has asked a judge for authorization so the state would not have to issue a ballot title and summary for the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” 

Harris called the proposal unconstitutional, said it “threatens public safety and has no place in a civil society.” She said the proposal seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.  

A Southern California lawyer, Matt McLaughlin, filed the citizen's initiative late last month. The proposed initiative advocates putting to death anyone who engages in sex with a person of the same gender.

If Harris issues a title and summary for the proposal, organizers would be allowed to collect the 365,000 signatures needed to put it on the 2016 ballot.  

“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,” said Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) in a statement. “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.”  

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, was among groups supporting Harris' move to stop the proposal.

“This disgusting, barbaric measure should be stopped in its tracks, and once again Attorney
General Harris has demonstrated leadership in standing up for the rights and dignity of LGBT Californians," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "It is our sincere hope that the Supreme Court of California gives her the authority to prevent it from advancing.”