‘Kill the gays’ measure tossed by California judge

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California AG Kamala Harris

A proposed ballot measure calling for gay people to be put to death for the “abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy” has been thrown put by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond M. Cadei, according to Patheos.com, the Progressive Secular Humanist website.

Huntington Beach lawyer Matthew McLaughlin filed the measure, asking that it be placed on the California state ballot for a vote. Titled “The Sodomite Suppression Act,” the proposed law required that gays be put to death by “bullets to the head” or “any other convenient method.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked the court to throw out McLaughlin’s ballot measure. Judge Cadei did just that, ruling that it was “patently unconstitutional on its face.”

Without his ruling, Harris would have been legally required to proceed with putting the process of putting the measure on the ballot. Cadei, however, said advancing the proposal to the signature-gathering phase “would be inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public and tend to mislead the electorate.”

Harris, in a written statement, called the proposal “the product of bigotry, [that] seeks to promote violence, is patently unconstitutional and has no place in a civil society.”

Shortly after McLaughlin originally filed his proposed ballot measure, activist and author Charlotte Laws filed the “Intolerant Jackass Act,” which, if approved by voters, would require anyone who proposes measures calling for the death of gay people to attend monthly sensitivity training and to donate $5,000 to “a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.”

—  Tammye Nash

California activist files ‘intolerant jackass’ initiative in response to ‘kill the gays’ initiative

Earlier this year, a California lawyer and so-called “Christian” activist named Matt McLaughlin paid $200 out of his own pocket to put Screen shot 2015-04-21 at 4.04.52 PMan initiative — “The Sodomite Suppression Act” — on the ballot in the Golden State that would require all gays and lesbians to be executed by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

Now another activist, Woodland Hills author Charlotte Laws, has filed “The Intolerant Jackass Act,” which, if approved by voters, would require anyone who proposes measures calling for the death of gay people to attend monthly sensitivity training and to donate $5,000 to “a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Laws told the Times, “It was done as a statement to make fun of Mr. McLaughlin. I wanted the world to see that California is a very open-minded state and that he is a lone voice, a minority voice, and that my ‘Intolerant Jackass Act’ actually reflects the sentiments of Californians.”

Laws’ proposed initiative says the “abominable crime known as prejudice against sexual orientation … is a destructive view that society commands us to suppress,” and refers to people who bring forth ballot proposals like McLaughlin’s as “Intolerant Jackasses.”

Laws said that her initiative was specifically intended to make fun of McLaughlin’s Sodomite Suppression initiative. She also said she believes the “people of California are intelligent; they aren’t going to pass something like [McLaughlin’s] absurd proposal.”

Laws told the Times her proposed initiative “obviously … isn’t constitutional either,” and that she was just making a statement by filing it. But if McLaughlin does somehow manage to get a significant number of signatures for his initiative, she said she might circulate hers for signatures, too.  She said several people have already called and told her they would be willing to gather signatures for her.

To get his initiative on the November 16 ballot, McLaughlin would have to collect 365,000 signatures in about 180 days, a task the Times says would be mighty tough, “even for well-financed efforts.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris last month requested a court order from the Sacramento County Superior Court allowing her to halt McLaughlin’s measure, saying it was both “reprehensible” and unconstitutional. The action is pending before the court and a hearing date has not been set yet, a spokeswoman for the AG’s office said, adding that the attorney general’s office will not be advancing McLaughlin’s proposal to the signature-gathering process while the matter is pending before the court.

Without the court order, though, Harris’ office will be required to prepare the measure for the signature-gathering part of the initiative process.

As the California Attorney General’s Office fights against anti-LGBT nastiness like McLaughlin’s initiative, it’s worth noting that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is busy filing lawsuits to keep from having to abide by the U.S. Department of Labor’s instructions to extend the definition of spouse to include legally-married same-sex spouses for the purpose of the Family Medical Leave Act, and defending the state’s ban on marriage equality, which has already been ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

—  Tammye Nash

Calif. AG: Prop 8 backers can’t defend marriage ban

Attorney General Kamala Harris

LISA LEFF | Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — California’s attorney general has again come out against the state’s same-sex marriage ban, this time telling the state Supreme Court the proponents of successful ballot initiatives do not have the right to defend their measures in court.

Kamala Harris, a Democrat who succeeded Gov. Jerry Brown in January as attorney general, submitted an amicus brief Monday in the ongoing legal dispute over the voter-approved ban known as Proposition 8.

In it, she argued that only public officials exercising the executive power of government have authority to represent the state when laws passed by voters or the Legislature are challenged.

“California law affords an initiative’s proponents no right to defend the validity of a successful initiative measure based only on their role in launching an initiative process,” Harris wrote.

The question of where the role of ballot measure backers ends is critical to the legal fight over California’s ban on same-sex marriages. Both Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to defend the 2008 constitutional amendment on appeal after a federal judge struck it down last summer as a violation of civil rights.

Proposition 8’s sponsors asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow them to step in, but the court punted the question to the California Supreme Court earlier this year, saying it was a matter of state law.

If the sponsors are not permitted to intervene, the lower court ruling overturning Proposition 8 will stand.

Lawyers for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that qualified the gay marriage measure for the ballot and campaigned for its passage have argued that initiative proponents need to be allowed to advocate for laws in court to prevent elected officials from effectively vetoing measures by not defending them in court.

Harris contended in her brief that rather than empowering citizens, granting the sponsors of initiatives the ability to overrule the governor and attorney general’s judgment “would rob the electors of power by taking the executive power from elected officials and placing it instead in the hands of a few highly motivated but politically unaccountable individuals.”

The California Supreme Court is expected to hold a hearing in the case before the end of the year.

Republican State Sen. Tom Harman of Orange County introduced a bill that would grant ballot measure sponsors the right to represent the state when elected officials refuse to defend enacted laws in court. The Senate Judiciary Committee defeated it on a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Sarah Palin on DOMA; anti-gay preacher Grant Storms on arrest; Prop 8 update

Grant Storms

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Grant Storms, the anti-gay Louisiana pastor who was arrested last week for allegedly jerking off in his van while looking at kids on a playground, insists he wasn’t really masturbating — he just had his hand in his pants. In a bizarre press conference Tuesday, Storms claimed that reports saying he confessed to the crime are untrue. But he also said he knows what he did was wrong, and admitted he has a problem with pornography, which he’d been looking at an hour before the incident. Also, he’s sorry for those anti-gay protests he led at Southern Decadence and is asking for forgiveness. Well, we’re not going to forgive you just yet, Mr. Storms, but we will give you some free legal advice: Shut the hell up! Towleroad has video of Storms’ press conference.

2. Taking a page out of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s playbook, Sarah Palin slammed President Barack Obama for his decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. In a statement she gave to the National Organization for Marriage, Palin accused Obama of flip-flopping on DOMA, which is course patently false. Obama has said all along that he wants to repeal DOMA. We’d suggest that if Palin wants a real example of flip-flopping, she should refer back to Leppert.

3. California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a brief Tuesday in the Prop 8 case urging a federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriages to resume immediately in the state. “For 845 days, Proposition 8 has denied equality under law to gay and lesbian couples,” Harris wrote. “Each and every one of those days, same-sex couples have been denied their right to convene loved ones and friends to celebrate marriages sanctioned and protected by California law. Each one of those days, loved ones have been lost, opportunities have been missed, and justice has been denied.”

—  John Wright