Anti-gay pro­posal re­sponse OKd

Au­thor of ‘In­tol­er­ant Jack­ass Act’ may be­gin col­lect­ing sig­na­tures, the state says.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Hai­ley Bran­son-Potts hai­ley.bran­son@la­times.com

The so-called In­tol­er­ant Jack­ass Act is, so far, be­ing tol­er­ated by state of­fi­cials.

Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State Alex Padilla an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that the au­thor of the pro­posed ini­tia­tive may be­gin cir­cu­lat­ing the mea­sure and col­lect­ing sig­na­tures.

Char­lotte Laws, a Wood­land Hills au­thor and ac­tivist, wrote the pro­posal in re­sponse to the Sodomite Sup­pres­sion Act, a pro­posed ini­tia­tive by Hunt­ing­ton Beach at­tor­ney Matthew McLaugh­lin that would au­tho­rize the killing of gays and les­bians by “bul­lets to the head” or “any other con­ve­nient method.”

Laws’ ini­tia­tive 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.”

To get their pro­pos­als on the Novem­ber 2016 bal­lot, McLaugh­lin and Laws would each have to col­lect more than 365,000 sig­na­tures in 180 days — a high bar even for well-fi­nanced ef­forts.

Laws told the Los Ange- les Times that she wrote the ini­tia­tive to “make fun of Matt McLaugh­lin,” and that she wanted to send the mes­sage “that Cal­i­for­ni­ans are open-minded peo­ple” who stand up for gay rights.

She said she felt her pro­posal had “served its pur­pose” and that she did not plan to cir­cu­late the pe­ti­tion for sig­na­tures. Sev­eral peo­ple, how­ever, have con­tacted her say­ing they would help her gather sig­na­tures, Laws said. She said she wouldn’t stop them if they wanted to do so. “I do feel that Matt McLaugh­lin has been slapped down and put in his place,” Laws said. “I’m glad my pro­posal made an im­pact. My in­tent was to send a mes­sage and to sup­port gay rights. … It’s served its pur­pose.”

McLaugh­lin has avoided the me­dia since his ini­tia­tive was made pub­lic.

Cal­i­for­ni­ans can sub­mit bal­lot pro­pos­als to the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice for a $200 fee, and of­fi­cials are re­quired to put even the most ex­treme ideas on the bal­lot if enough sig­na­tures are col­lected. The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice has lit­tle choice but to give pro­pos­als a bal­lot-wor­thy name, sum­ma­rize their ef­fects and set the clock run­ning for gath­er­ing sig­na­tures.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fi­cial sum­mary of Laws’ pro­posal says it would have “likely neg­li­gi­ble fis­cal ef­fect on state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.” The “In­tol­er­ant Jack­ass” name has been re­moved from its of­fi­cial ti­tle, and it has now been given a far less col­or­ful la­bel: “Bal­lot mea­sures. Sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion prej­u­dice. Ini­tia­tive statute.”

State Atty. Gen. Ka­mala Har­ris in March asked for a court or­der al­low­ing her to halt McLaugh­lin’s mea­sure, say­ing it was “rep­re­hen­si­ble” and un­con­sti­tu­tional. Har­ris filed an ac­tion for declara­tory re­lief with the Sacra­mento County Su­pe­rior Court that would let her es­sen­tially ig­nore the pro­posal and not al­low it to ad­vance to the sig­na­ture-gath­er­ing process. Har­ris’ of­fice said Wed­nes­day that the court has granted her re­quest to ex­tend the dead­line by which she must give the pro­posal an of­fi­cial name and sum­mary to June 25 to al­low time to bring the court case to a con­clu­sion.

Damian Do­var­ganes

SEC­RE­TARY OF STATE Alex Padilla said the pro­posed ini­tia­tive may be cir­cu­lated among vot­ers.

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