Last week Reason made note of an absurd, violent ballot initiative proposed by a lawyer in California that would mandate the death penalty for all gay people (and authorize citizens to carry out the sentence should the state refuse). He paid his $200 and submitted his initiative to the attorney general's office to have a title and summary prepared so he could begin collecting signatures, if he so wanted to. That such a ballot initiative could not ever be implemented into law did not seem to figure into the process at this point.
But today, Attorney General Kamala Harris asked the courts for authorization to refuse to prepare the initiative as the law requires. Via the Sacramento Bee and a prepared statement from Harris:
"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," Harris, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said in her first public statement about the proposal.
"Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the "Sodomite Suppression Act." If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism."
And, um, murder? That's a strange way to describe what the initiative does. Well, I suppose technically it wouldn't be murder since the ballot initiative would declare that it's not murder, but there's no reason that Harris has to play that semantic game.