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Monday, March 4, 2024
March 4, 2024

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‘Intolerant Jackass’ may collect signatures

California says initiative slamming anti-gay plan can try to get on ballot

The Columbian

LOS ANGELES — The so-called Intolerant Jackass Act is, so far, being tolerated by California officials.

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

Charlotte Laws, a Los Angeles author and activist, wrote the Intolerant Jackass Act 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 on the November 2016 ballot, both 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 said 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 Wednesday that 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.”

State Attorney General Kamala Harris in March asked for a court order allowing her to halt McLaughlin’s measure, saying it was both “reprehensible” and unconstitutional. 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.