A California attorney and devout Christian, Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, proposed in February a ballot initiative ominously dubbed “The Sodomite Suppression Act” that seeks to legalize the state executing “by bullets to the head” anyone found guilty of gay lifestyle.
The measure bans sodomites from holding public office and outlaws “spreading sodomite propaganda,” or advocating gay rights to an audience, including minors. It makes violation of the prohibition against “spreading sodomite propaganda” punishable by 10 years in prison or a fine of $1 million and banishment from the state of California.
The ballot initiative appears set to make it past the attorney general’s desk to the signature-gathering stage, according to legal experts.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that legal experts are unanimous that state Attorney General Kamala Harris does not have the power to refuse the measure for the signature-gathering stage, even though it is glaringly unconstitutional.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, experts say that once the sponsor of a ballot initiative has paid the required fee, the attorney general is required under existing state laws to “prepare a title and a maximum 100-word summary of the initiative and forward it to the secretary of state for a 90-day period of public signature-gathering.”
According to McLaughlin, a Christian and an attorney from Huntington Beach in Orange County, gay sex is a “monstrous evil that the Almighty God commands us to suppress on pain of utter destruction.”
Given McLaughlin’s fears that the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah is imminent due to the sinful wickedness of a nation that condones gay sex, he has taken it on himself to act to save the nation from the wrath of the Almighty by proposing a ballot measure that “anyone who touches a person of the same gender for sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by another other convenient methods.”
McLaughlin would probably be thankful that he would not need to research on “other convenient methods” of putting gays to death. ISIS militants have lately demonstrated several “other convenient methods” of putting “sodomite sinners” to death — beheading, throwing from the top floor of multiple story building, stoning to death, burning alive, strangling, evisceration, flogging to death, crucifixion, starvation, slow boiling in a pot of oil or water…
Even more chilling, McLaughlin’s Medieval initiative seeks to facilitate dispensing of punishment against gays by proposing that any citizen may act ISIS-style as an executioner if, for any reason, such as excessive liberalism, the state fails to perform its God-assigned duties.
Separate provisions in the measure require that the text of the law be posted in every public school classroom as warning to the “heathen.” The proposed law also prohibits its constitutionality from being debated or judged by any state Supreme Court that includes “LGBT justices” and their supporters.
Many have expressed shock at the sadistic and murderous religious fervor of this individual, a citizen of a First World country, far, far away from ISIS-land. Many have also expressed shock at the fact that despite the sheer magnitude of the immorality McLaughlin proposes as part of his duty to God, there is no easy way under California law to keep the proposal from making it to the signature-gathering stage.
Although, the risk that a measure as monstrous as McLaughlin’s could emerge was foreseeable, California law has no provisions to prevent such measure from scaling the first hurdles. State law allows any citizen to submit an initiative, no matter how absurd or unconstitutional, after paying a $200 fee.
And the measure is entitled to gather signatures.
McLaughlin paid his filing fee of $200 on February 26, declaring in the manner typical of religious zealotry that it is “better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath.”
Although the attorney general has no power of discretion to refuse the measure, the California State Supreme Court reserves the power to disqualify measures that violate the Constitution. It is thus expected that the State Supreme Court will quash the proposed law as unconstitutional.
McLaughlin’s proposal violates the basic tenets of U.S. Constitution, which guarantees due process and protects people from being prosecuted, let alone executed, for advocating a specific form of private lifestyle, pursing their sexual orientation and private consensual sexual activity.
According to Slate, the rule preventing the attorney general from refusing any measure, no matter how self-evidently inappropriate, was promulgated by the California Supreme Court to prevent partisan attorney generals from blocking proposals for political reasons. But by so doing, religious zealots like McLaughlin became generously empowered to pursue any retrogressive agenda that catches their religious fancy.
But the good news, as Slate notes, is that California legislators are currently debating means of screening out such “insane and murderous ballot initiative.”
Despite the irksome fact that a measure as wildly inappropriate as McLaughlin’s would make it to the signature-gathering stage, it is assumed that the proposal would almost certainly not gather the minimum of 365, 880 signatures required to move it to the ballot stage.
Meanwhile, according to NBC News, some members of the state Legislature, including members of the Legislature’s LGBT caucus, have called on the California Bar to review McLaughlin’s membership of the professional body.
In a letter of complaint dated March 10, members of the caucus expressed shock that a lawyer listed and permitted to practice in California would call openly for the expulsion and murder of the LGBT community.
“We are shocked and outraged that a member of the State Bar would so callously call for the disenfranchisement, expulsion and murder of members of the LGBT community. We believe that this measure not only fails constitutional muster, but that such inciting and hateful language has no place in our discourse, let alone state constitution.”
However, it is unlikely that the California Bar would be able to sanction McLaughlin because he could always plead his right to free speech.
But this is not the first time that McLaughlin has shown the religious extremist dark side of his character. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in 1998, he pushed an initiative that would make the King James Bible required school literature book because of its “rich use of the English language.”