Unprofessionals in Law

March 13, 2015

Californian lawyer gets a little bit homophobic

San Francisco City Hall during Pride week. Radoslaw Lecyk/Shutterstock.com


Generally speaking, California is seen as a very LGBT friendly state. Same-sex marriage is legal, and cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego all rank 100% on Human Rights Campaign measures of LGBT equality.

So it may come as something of a surprise that a California based lawyer, Matthew McLaughlin, has put forward a ballot initiative with the catchy title: “Sodomite Suppression Act”. Paying $200 to have the ballot submitted, McLaughlin hopes to gain the 365,000 signatories required to reach the next stage of the ballot process.

What the initiative is about is close to what the title would lead you to expect. We can’t put the content of his proposal any better than he does:

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us… 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.”

Somebody give that man a hug. Actually, guys might want to give that a miss.

The bad news for McLaughlin is that same-sex relations are protected federally, so his ballot initiative could never become law. There’s also the small matter that nobody has been executed in California since 2006, and that it was ruled unconstitutional there in 2014 (that is being appealed), and that only one state in the US still technically allows death by firing squad. What a mess. It’s almost as if he didn’t think through his ballot at all.

Of course, McLaughlin is a lawyer: he’s prepared for some of these potential roadblocks, stating as part as the ballot that the law cannot be rendered ineffective until heard by a quorum of the Supreme Court of California. What makes him think they won’t strike it down? His secret weapon: no “sodomites” to be among the judges. Cunning.

Other gems from his ballot include a million dollar fine and a 10 year prison sentence for anybody professing support for homosexuals, followed by exile from the state, and that it would be mandatory to pin the ruling up in every public school classroom. What can we say?

The man knows what he wants. The bad news for McLaughlin is that a petition to have him disbarred has already got a headstart on his ballot. JL

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