By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Eight California lawmakers on Monday denounced a proposed ballot initiative that advocates the murder of gays and lesbians and has stirred outrage in the state.
The proposal, which is unconstitutional and highly unlikely to make the ballot or pass, has upset people across the political spectrum in a state that prides itself on civil rights protections for all citizens.
"I had to take a stand on this issue," said Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullen, a Democrat from San Mateo. "Many of my friends, colleagues and staff are affected by this abhorrent proposed initiative and I will not stand by while others seek to find ways to discriminate against them."
Mullen and seven colleagues on Monday introduced a resolution condemning the proposal. The state has already gone to court to block the plan's author from gathering signatures to place it on the ballot, but a decision has not yet been made in that case.
The initiative sparked anger earlier this year, after someone using the name Matt McLaughlin paid $200 to the state to submit it for the ballot. Filed Feb. 26, it was called the "Sodomite Suppression Act."
The supposed author, whose name is listed as that of an attorney with an address in Huntington Beach in Southern California, has not responded to media requests for comment.
The author would have to gather 366,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the state in order to place it on the ballot, an expensive task considered highly unlikely to succeed in this case.
Before signature-gathering on a ballot initiative can begin, state law requires the attorney general to prepare a summary to distribute to potential signers.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a Superior Court in Sacramento in March for permission to refuse to prepare the summary for this measure, saying it was reprehensible and "patently unconstitutional."
The court has not yet responded to Harris's request, Mullen said in a statement.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)