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How to prevent another 'Sodomite Suppression Act'

To the editor: There is a simple way to discourage submissions of outrageous ballot initiatives that doesn't require raising the $200 filing fee. ("'Sodomite Suppression Act' is no reason for radical initiative reform," editorial, March 24)

Proponents should be required to obtain a modest number of registered voter signatures, perhaps 50, to go along with the fee. Proponents and those submitting supporting signatures should be required to provide valid street addresses, either residence or business, and their names and addresses should be available to the public on the Web along with the text of the proposed initiative.

I doubt it would be easy to find 50 registered voters who would want their names and addresses linked in public to the anti-gay "Sodomite Suppression Act."

Daniel J.B. Mitchell, Santa Monica

The writer is a professor of public policy at UCLA.

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To the editor: As a researcher on sexual behavior, I can tell you that the real problem with lawyer Matt McLaughlin's "Sodomite Suppression Act" is that, in absolute terms, sodomy is practiced by far more straights than gays — by millions more, in fact.

A 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 36% of heterosexual women and 44% of heterosexual men say they have tried it, and between 10% and 15% of straights do it regularly.

Because more than 90% of the population identifies as straight, that adds up to a lot of people. Do the math, Mr. McLaughlin.

Robert Epstein, Encinitas

The writer is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

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To the editor: Who really believes McLaughlin can gather 365,880 signatures for his execrable "Sodomite Suppression Act"? I never would have thought Proposition 8 could have made it to the ballot, let alone win a majority of votes, but it did.

You dismiss the need for radical initiative reform, offering no alternatives to the modest filing fee increase to $8,000. I can only assume that had you been so viciously and repeatedly targeted by the initiative process, you'd take reform more seriously.

Raphael Mazor, Long Beach

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To the editor: I have my own ballot initiative to propose. It's called the "Support for Underprivileged Single Parents Act."

Under the law, all individuals earning more than $30 million annually will be executed, and their estates will be distributed to single parents who are struggling to support their children. This is a noble and Christian goal.

Apparently it doesn't matter that this would be illegal or immoral. I just need to pay the qualifying fee, get enough signatures and get my measure on the ballot. Sounds good, huh?

Now everyone with $200 should consider submitting their own ballot initiatives, regardless of how absurd or illegal they might be. Thank you, Matt McLaughlin.

Jim Medina, Long Beach

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