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'Death Penalty For Gays' Ballot Initiative May Be Allowed To Proceed Under California Law

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- A ballot proposal criminalizing sodomy and allowing the death penalty for anyone who "touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification" is moving forward because constitutionally, there is really no way to stop it, despite the neo-Nazi nature of the proposed law.

Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin filed papers to begin gathering signatures for the ballot measure, the "Sodomite Suppression Act" on February 26th.

In California's "direct democracy" any citizen can follow procedures to propose just about any law. That doesn't mean that any law could pass, and even if passed, it doesn't mean that any law could actually go into effect. Even laws passed by a majority of California voters may been overturned by judicial review, as was the case in the Prop. 8 gay marriage debate.

This latest initiative is creating news not because of what it would do if passed but because of the fact that it, so far, cannot be stopped at this stage.

FULL TEXT: Criminalizing Sodomy Ballot Proposition

Along with the required $200 fee, McLaughlin's letter asking for certification of his initative, sent to the coordinator for Attorney General Kamala Harris, includes some bizarre language: "The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha."

McLaughlin's ballot proposal continues, stating, "...the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method."

Harris' office may actually be legally required to write a title and summary of the legislation, allowing signature gatherers to stand in front of shopping malls and grocery stores inviting patrons to sign a petition to put a death sentence for gays on the statewide ballot.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the Legislature's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus has now written a letter to the State Bar calling into question McLaughlin's fitness to practice law.

A petition to take away his law license already has over 6,000 signers.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has expressed outrage over the lawyer's use of the initiative process, including these tweets.

Newsom writes, "Ironically, law can't stop this illegal initiative. Posting ideas this week w/ hashtag #LoveisnotaCrime - share yours."

While submitting a ballot proposal costs just $200, the preparation of the proposal by the state can cost about $8,000.

WATCH: KPIX 5's Mike Sugerman demonstrate just how quick voters are to sign a petition, for anything, no matter how absurd. (July 2014)

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