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"Sodomite Suppression Act" Ruled Unconstitutional

Website of Attorney General Kamala Harris

Attorney General Kamala Harris's office quickly removed the "Sodomite Suppression Act" from its website after the judge's ruling.

Website of Attorney General Kamala Harris

A California judge has ruled a proposed ballot measure that calls for the killing of gays is "patently unconstitutional." That means Attorney General Kamala Harris does not need to prepare it for signature gathering.

Whenever a Californian proposes a new ballot measure, the Attorney General is required to prepare a title and summary before the initiative’s proponent can begin gathering voter signatures.

But Kamala Harris didn’t want to do this for the "Sodomite Suppression Act" because she felt the measure was unconstitutional. So she asked the court to let her off the hook. The proponent didn’t respond and the court said, "OK." 

"That doesn’t mean that the Attorney General can make decisions on her own," says UC Davis Law Professor Vik Amar, adding the ruling doesn't necessarily set a precedent for future ballot measures. "But at least it shows that in the context of a ridiculous proposal, there is a way to avoid having the spectacle of signature gathering."

The Sacramento Superior Court judge said Harris should not "waste public resources" by processing this "patently unconstitutional measure."

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio