California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday rejected another attempt by an Orange County attorney to process a ballot measure authorizing the killing of gays and lesbians.
In his first public comments since proposing the original “Sodomite Suppression Act” in February, Matt McLaughlin expressed outrage that Harris’ office, which is charged with preparing ballot measures, summarily dismissed his latest offering, the “Sodomite Suppression Mandate.”
“What I’m proposing is not murder,” McLaughlin said in a telephone interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I’m proposing the laws as they’ve ever been. The Bible doesn’t change.”
McLaughlin said he purposely didn’t defend his first ballot proposal, a statute law, when Harris asked a judge for permission to keep it from the ballot. He said he devised his second as a constitutional amendment, which he thought she would have to clear for signature gathering.
McLaughlin said that for centuries, homosexuality was a crime, often punishable by death, but as gays and lesbians won legal and political battles for their rights, “I feel mine were attacked. I’m a Bible believer.” Christian supporters of gay rights have noted that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality.
His measure has sparked public outrage along with proposals to raise the filing fee for a proposed ballot initiative. Last week, at the request of Harris, a court relieved her office of its official duty to prepare the title and summary, the precursor for proponents to begin collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Judge Raymond M. Cadei called the proposal “patently unconstitutional on its face,” echoing the legal argument offered by the attorney general’s office.
In a letter Wednesday to McLaughlin, Harris’ office informed him that it was not moving forward with his new request and was returning his $200 processing fee. Like the first attempt, the proposal submitted on June 24 would legalize killing gays and lesbians by “bullets to the head” or “any other convenient method.”
“The language of the previous initiative and your most recent proposal are substantively identical,” initiative coordinator Ashley Johansson wrote to McLaughlin. “Accordingly, issuing any title and summary of the proposal would be inconsistent with the Court’s judgment.”
McLaughlin, referring to the advance of gay rights as “sodomites got revenge,” said he was unsure of his next step.
“I don’t know what I should do at this point,” he said. “It’s wrong what’s she’s doing. She’s putting the onus on me to file a lawsuit.”
Speaking last weekend at a pride breakfast in San Francisco, Harris said the proposal illustrated that, despite the Supreme Court’s sweeping ruling clearing same-sex marriages on Friday, equality for all still remains out of reach. Speaking off the cuff, she dismissed McLaughlin as an “idiot.”
Harris later clarified that it was “just the feeling I had at that moment that I obviously could not suppress.”
She added: “Anyone who will take up their own time, or anyone else’s time, advocating for murder of innocent people in a way that is so fueled by bigotry and hate is someone whose intelligence we should question.”