Direct Democracy Fail Allows “Kill The Gays” Measure To Advance in California

Kill gay flag

There is a misconception that a liberal state like California would never fall prey to religious extremism like the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS) gaining ground and wreaking havoc on citizens, but that would be a mistake. Although California is liberal, there is a giant contingent of extremists that make states like Mississippi look progressive. Just think of the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment (Proposition 8) that started the nation’s march toward marriage equality. Prop 8 was successful in part due to an idiotic experiment in “direct democracy” where any extremist idea that garners 300,000 signatures can be put on a statewide ballot for inclusion to the state’s Constitution; it is a very, very bad idea.

Now, there is a proposal under way for a ballot initiative to rival ISIS atrocities calling for the execution of gays and lesbians; the Sodomite Suppression Act. According to the attorney pushing the ballot initiative, the only way to save righteous Californians lives is enacting a “kill the gays measure” according to the Old Testament. His fanatical reasoning is that to prevent “all of us from being killed by god’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification shall be put to death by bullets to the head or any other convenient method; this by wise command of the good people of California.”

Before any American thinks this will never fly in the Golden State, just reconsider that because of California’s direct democracy cockup, the religious right, Mormons, and Catholics from around the nation poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaign to pass that other fanatical ballot initiative Prop 8. For one thing, even though the initiative’s author is from Southern California like Prop 8’s, they garnered massive support from the Great Central Valley that is without question a religious right haven without comparison in any area of the nation.

This is just one reason why direct democracy is not a valid means of making laws. It is prescient to remember George Carlin’s not-so-funny warning to “never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” and replace the word ‘stupid’ with religious fanatics. The power of religious freaks in large groups in California is substantial and they will embrace a constitutional amendment to avoid suffering god’s wrath.

Since the ballot initiative’s author followed the rules and paid his $200 to get the ball rolling, California Attorney General Kamala Harris cannot quash the proposal simply because it is barbaric and unconstitutional. In fact, although there is a movement in the state to reform the direct democracy initiative process to prevent these dangerous constitutional amendments from reaching fruition, there is an even bigger well-funded movement among conservatives to prevent the attorney general, or legislature, from having any discretion to derail a ballot proposal regardless how extreme it is. Still, the attorney general’s office began researching whether there is a legal ground to file a lawsuit to put a stop to the Draconian initiative on the basis enacting it is patently unconstitutional. Kamala Harris will find the extremists will robustly defend the initiative process in the courts because they are aggrieved and intent on exacting revenge for Prop 8 being struck down by the courts against god’s wishes.

In the state legislature, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus wrote a letter to the State Bar, demanding an investigation into the initiative’s author, Matt McLaughlin, fitness to practice law. Another  3,800 people signed a petition to State Bar President Craig Holden asking that McLaughlin lose his law license for advocating to “legalize the murder” of gays and lesbians. But there has been no action and the measure is “proceeding to the signature-gathering stage.” All the while, the Attorney General has no recourse but to follow through with her proscribed duty of writing an official legal title and summary for the proposal. Legal experts say Kamal Harris has no choice, or prerogative, but to do her part in helping advance the process, and that the initiative’s author will not face professional consequences and can continue practicing law.

As a last resort, Attorney General Kamala Harris is looking to a state court for permission to quash the initiative, but understands the state’s ‘direct democracy’ experiment prevents her from doing anything but complaining about the barbaric and unconstitutional nature of the proposal. She said that, “As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society.” Still, it is also Harris’ sworn duty to do everything in her power to help advance the proposal no matter how “unconstitutional utterly reprehensible, or a threat to public safety;” like it or not.

The real question is at what point is a measure too extreme for inclusion on California ballots? There will always be 300,000 extremists ready and willing to sign a ballot measure, especially in a heavily populated state like California. Worse, there are highly-motivated and well-funded groups across the nation willing to invest hundreds-of-millions of dollars to see even the harshest measure enacted for special interests. That this particular abomination was not summarily thrown out is telling, and dangerous, because state officials have not made any attempt to reform the ballot initiative process due to pressure from outside groups, and their dark money, from enacting all manner of despicable laws without participation by the state’s legislature of governor.

Just the fact that a ‘kill the gays’ initiative is being advanced in a liberal state like California is reason enough to challenge the dangerous concept of direct democracy. In the last election, the Koch brothers were able to fund several ballot initiatives to eliminate California’s environmental protections and wipe out union representation and worker protections in the state. It is damn high time for the California legislature to do right by the residents and put an immediate end to this dangerous idea that any outside group of oligarchs, or religious extremists, can gather signatures and fund a crusade to impose their will on the people. The Founding Fathers intended for America to be a representative democracy because they understood that the country could never survive because of the “power of stupid, or religious extremist, in large groups;” something America has in great abundance.

50 Replies to “Direct Democracy Fail Allows “Kill The Gays” Measure To Advance in California”

  1. Is there no limit to right wing lunacy? Their attempts to drag us back centuries to the time of witches and spells is so connected to the dumbing down of the masses via Fox so called news and other anti-intellectual forces among media and conservative churches.
    Time to stand up and take charge , voting is our final recourse…. Register and study up..

  2. The names of the 300,000 required signatures – do those become public information?

    Seems like it might be useful to know who in your neighborhood thinks it’s OK to be a murderer.

  3. There is precedent for the courts to allow AG Harris to quash this initiative, and I think she will succeed on this one.

  4. In Wisconsin Snott Walker made public the lists of people who signed the recall petitions.
    Some TeaPartier went even further and published the names of people who had court proceedings, liens, civil proceedings against them, every court action down to divorces and parking tickets.

    I’m sure that would be legal in California too.

  5. An initutive to legally allow someone to commit murder? This sounds more like what Texastan would do.

    I can’t see this as a possibility of ever getting on our state ballot. But then prop HATE was passed by the ignorant of our great state because they scared them by saying it would be taught in schools but was overruled by the courts.

    Again this is from an Orange County attorney who is scared shitless that his conservative ghetto aka “behind the orange curtain” is getting bluer.

    The tea bag/repubs love to instill FEAR into people to get their way.

  6. San Francisco, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Long Beach, San Diego have very large LGBT populations.

    Also governor Reagan signed the MULFORD ACT in 1967 which prohibits open-carry of guns because the black panthers stormed the state capital scaring him to NOT sign it, but he did out of being scared.

  7. Rmuse, you could not be more wrong. We know from experience politicians do not always do what the people want them to do. The Initiative process allows the people to bypass the legislature when necessary. Without it, we would not have things like Medical Marijuana. The people did that, not the legislature.

    People try to get to ridiculous, and yes, sometimes malicious (in this case, dangerous) matters on the ballot. Most of the time they never make the signature threshold (Prop. 8 being one of the rare exceptions).

    You do not throw out an entire legal process, one that has proven to work for the people, because of one lunatic.

    I would agree to one change in the system, and that is how these ballot initiatives are funded. If out of state funding was banned (and enforced), if it was limited solely to the state and people effected by it, disasters like Prop. 8 are less likely to occur.

  8. Never underestimate the sheer black hatred in the hearts of alleged Christians.

    Never trust a republican.

    These people have one master and it is green.

  9. My contention with the article – although I wholly agree with the thrust of the argument against extremism of any sort – is that direct democracy itself doesn’t seem to have been the real problem. It’s a tool that has been used by an extremist group, but it bears noting that, whereas Indiana has an actual law allowing discrimination against LGBTs, California’s initiative hasn’t yet gone to a vote. It almost certainly will be voted down. But, in representative-democracy Indiana…there’s an actual law.

    True, the Indiana law doesn’t go so far as to require the deaths of LGBTs – so far as we know at this point, although it seems to be vague enough that that might be possible – but it is, in fact, a LAW. Done. Signed.

    I think direct democracy will be the way forward. Just because we haven’t had an open, transparent, open-source discussion of how to implement it without things like this happening doesn’t mean that we can’t.

  10. We’re at $38.8 million now a 4.6% increase since 2010 so maybe by 2020 we’ll increase our 55 electoral votes to 60?
    10 million live in LA county…

    “Welcome to California, now go home”

  11. You have a point, but that representative democracy that passed that religious law was supported by Indiana bigots. Those people knew what the GOP governor and legislature would do if given power and they delivered. It’s happening in several states. California has more than enough bible thumpers to get this on the ballot and if Kamala Harris could stop it she already would have; she is VERY pro LGBT. Now she ‘s writing the title and summary of the initiative according to her duty.

  12. Ummm, while I appreciate your comment, it doesn’t apply to the law passed in Indiana.

    There was NO direct democracy involved, it was solely a law passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Pence. The people had no say in it’s passage or implementation. Whereas this initiative may actually go on the ballot, if enough people sign the petition, for the people to vote in true direct democracy.

    And dog help the people in CA if it passes.

  13. I’m going a little off subject but I need to say this, the CONSERVATIVE movement is pure poison and mind disgustingly hateful. My mother a stepfather were black republicans, I was around 21 when their transformation started!! and it ALL started by listening to RIGHT WING talk radio!! my stepfather was the kindest, gentlest christian person, human being I’ve EVER known but after listening to RIGHT religious HATE radio for years, during a heated argument ME, the LIBERAL, HE, the black republican, he told me he wished ALL homosexuals could just be left on an island and be forgotten about, that BLEW my mind! that was over 30 yrs ago and it still does!! The GOP is a CULT!! they poison you and will destroy your humanity!!

  14. “Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among those are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    There is no liberty or pursuit of happiness for a person(s) being discriminated against.

    The 14th Amendment of our Constitution is clear when it says, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any persons within it’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    *Third Article:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    That in article 2nd, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit, The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship…

  15. The republican party favorite little trick is to divide and conquer! remember last year when they tried to pit people on social security against people on welfare?? The GOP is PURE FILTH!! their latest stunt is to pit black people against gay citizens!! and to a point, it’s working! well it’s working for many of the black so called ”christians” GANG!! it’s unbelievable how ANY black person can’t see they’re be played for FOOLS!! but phony religion will do that!! Listen up my fake black republican christians, if you support taking civil liberties from gay people or ANY group, trust me, you’ll be the GOP’s next target!! WAKE UP black republican! the GOP don’t love you! you’re just a somewhat useful PAWN!! for now!

  16. **IF** it passes it WILL BE unconstitutional and the SCOTUS will rule against legalizing MURDER.
    These BIGOTS are wasting MY CA tax $$$’s on complete nonsense.

  17. why stop there? Let’s extinguish those apprentices of Satan – those left-handed people! Also, those evil people who are left footed. Not to mention the people who sleep on the left side of their beds. And what about all of those foodies who don’t follow biblical food directives: those despicable mushroom eaters, shellfish munchers and ostrich burger fans. Kill your way out of anything you don’t understand. it’s the American way.

  18. Direct democracy will never be safe to use as long as so many Americans are so ignorant and prejudiced that they can be held in the thrall of the likes of Fox and extremists like the lunatic who wrote this “initiative” and people like the Koch brothers who can add their unlimited resources to the equation.

  19. However there is a little light in the tunnel we call indiana! Some of my Bible thumping friends understand why I as. Black Non CHRISTIAN could never be one!
    When I said it was Anti Black, they did not have an argument! Hope but too little too late!

  20. @PatriciaRodriguez

    The comment follow-on system here is a bit wonky, so I think you were replying to me. If not, I apologize.

    You said, “Ummm, while I appreciate your comment, it doesn’t apply to the law passed in Indiana.

    There was NO direct democracy involved, it was solely a law passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Pence.”

    What I actually said was, “But, in representative-democracy Indiana…there’s an actual law.” – Last sentence of the first paragraph.

    Representative versus direct. I make the distinction.

    :) Just to clarify.

  21. Knight, great post, all of it.

    The GOPT is poison. Our country is starting to sound like Nazi Germany.

  22. True. The GOPT is wasting our taxpayer money on every level, state right up through Congress.

    They are working against “We the People” and they are winning.

  23. Unfortunately Judy, that is what it will come to.

    Kill people with college degrees, kill people who are on social security, on and on, once this pathetic faction in our country gets a foothold, we will all be fighting for our lives.

  24. Direct democracy can be a big pain, but it is not a “fail” in the way the author would have us believe.
    In its day, Prop. 8 was not an extremist proposition. National opinion has changed considerably on the topic since then. But it passed at the time because a majority were in favor of it.
    Even the Democratic party was not united behind this issue. Obama was still backing a “civil union” approach.
    This current proposition is indeed extremist. It’s unconstitutional and can’t pass a laugh test. It will not be on the ballot, could never win if it were and would never be enforced even if it won.
    The California state initiative process may be antiquated and in need of some changes. The idea,initially good, has been taken over by moneyed interests. For example, we get an insurance company trying to pass propositions to change insurance regulations.
    It needs work, but in the current “money takes all” political atmosphere, I wouldn’t want to eliminate it…

  25. Yes, you can see who signed.

    Honestly folks – so what? The initiative process brings pure democracy, good, bad, indifferent right to us to decide. The chances of this goober actually getting the 366,000 signatures is slim. The ONLY thing that will change that is rich RW groups coming out because Harris – who declined the ROUTINE vetting of initiatives as being too much work – makes a big F. deal out of it when she won’t on any other issue.

    Is this ghastly? OMG yes. Will it even get on the ballot? Not if reasonable people treat it as trash. Even if it finds funding for paid circulation of signatures, nobody in their right mind will vote for it. So no pearl clutching please. This IS democracy – which includes nutjobs even if we cannot abide them.

  26. Republicans/conservatives from the “C Street” aka “The Family” aka “The Fellowship” traveled to Uganda and were instrumental in that country’s leaders enacting “kill the gays” legislation. I’m not saying that this legislation will pass in this country. I’m saying that there are many who would like to see it pass.

    BTW, there were a few Democrats who belonged to this “Fellowship” including Hillary Clinton.

  27. I think there should be a counter-proposal making it legal to shoot everyone who signs the first proposal, and requiring the state to publish their names and addresses.

  28. the initiative’s author, Matt McLaughlin
    I’m a skeptic. This proposal is so ridiculously over the top that it’s practically impossible to believe. Sounds more like some sort of a publicity stunt.
    Either that, or God made Matt McLaughlin, broke the mold and then crushed the pieces to dust.

  29. Simple solution. Have advocacy groups put out that they will publish the names and addresses of each individual who signs the petition. It is public knowledge.

  30. What if….I am offended by the Christians fundamentalism….something people choose to be (You know like being gay is a choice <<snark)the choice they make to hate "the others" i.e. minorities, wounded Vets, poor children, the disabled, homeless, senior citizens, millionaire teachers, fire fighters, union members in the name of Jesus offends my religion…do I get to kill them by extension?

  31. Put out. Petition demanding the heads of the fanatics! A kill the fi dies bill! The Gita has plenty of scriptures against the starving of children , the sutras against murder!
    If they are so fond of being martyrs, let’s put that in the petition also!

  32. U.S. Supreme Court rule 8 to 1 that the names of those who signed ballot petitions for Proposition 8 can be made public without violating their free-speech rights.

    Only Clarence Thomas dissented.

    So, yes, the names of petitioners may be made public in California, and those 366,000 (the required number of signatures needed to put a Proposition on the ballot in California) may be printed and made public.

    And they should do it – which, I’m certain, they will. Mark my words.

  33. Agree with you on the family being involved in the murder of gays in Uganda, never heard that Clinton belonged. Link please.
    Not a right wing link or News Max

  34. I agree, wholeheartedly, with you, Allan. California’s “direct democracy” system is FAR better than the “representative government” of say, Indiana, where the people have no say so.

    And although an argument can be made that eliminating direct democracy would stop lunatic bills like Prop HATE and this idiot Christofascist bill…it would also take power away from Californians to know what’s going on in order to crush the Proposition either before it gathers the 366k signatures to be put on the ballot or at the ballot box.

    Most Californians work two, three jobs and don’t have time to know what they’re government is up to, and in States like Indiana that’s a plus for the Christofascist fringe.

    It’s constitutional to publicize the names of the signatories of a proposition, so that’s what all major newspapers in California should do – names and addresses. This will curb the crazies from signing any insane bills.

  35. charlie, you underestimate the insanity and hatred of Christofascists like McLaughlin. I don’t.

    You can be certain that the people who dare sign on to this petition will be made public for all to read.

  36. No – that ruling dealt with revealing names and addresses of DONORS who gave money in support of Prop 8.

    It did NOT deal with revealing names and addresses of people who signed the initiative petitions.

    As I noted above:

    As a general rule, initiative petitions, once filed with the county elections officials, are not public records and are not open to the general public for inspection.
    (Government Code section 6253.5.)

  37. I don’t know how I got on to their mailing list, but somehow their got my email and now I am getting Talk about scary. Well, at least to this Progressive. The language is absolutely Orwellian. For the right-wing bills to ensure Christian Religious Sovereignty is sacrosanct and is part of the Constitution. Excuse me – What about my religious freedom to worship as I want and need? Also, my brand of Christianity does not discriminate against other people for any reason – race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, religions, etc., all are welcome. Other religions should also have the same rights as right-wing Christianity. That is why the U.S. put in the Constitution that there will be NO religious test and the reason for the separation of Church and State. The law they want to put into effect would put Government into the middle of religious adjudication. Something our Founders were profoundly against.
    Want to learn how the right thinks just …

  38. Want to learn how the right thinks just log on to and just read and if you are a Progressive if this does not scare you nothing will.
    Republicans Give Tax Increases and Treat Religion as a Lesser Right

  39. As liberal as California is and has been, the influx of new arrivals, specially from those ultra traditional countries, that are not ready to (fully) appreciate the freedon this country offers, and they may align with the right wingers.
    The mob-legislation is not any safer than mob scenes as once they they get rolling it is hard to get it stopped, even when people realize it is the wrong thing to do.

  40. If not regular citizens, at least the police need to be aware of potential mass murderers and their addresses. When anyone dies, check out a database of people who think murder is okay and if any of them live near the victim or know the victim. I think it would only be reasonable detective work.

  41. I thought, and i think if this is researched, it is against the law to suggest or incite the murder of anyone let alone the murder of millions of people. In no uncertain terms this is suggesting the mass murder of millions of people. The sick, disgusting reprehensible (words fail) person bringing this bill forth should and could be arrested for inciting the murder. Perhaps however many gays in the state could bring this action forward. The ACLU should be on top of this one. Where are They???

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