California Attorney Proposes Initiative to Legalize Killing Gays and Lesbians
In late February, California attorney, Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, proposed to pass a shameful law that includes killing gays and lesbians either with “bullets to the head,” or “any other convenient method.” While the law has no chance of passing, it has brought up the statewide legal conversation as to whether the $200 fee to propose a ballot should be raised.
McLaughlin is a “Christian Lawyer” out of Huntington Beach. He was admitted to The State Bar of California in 1998, and he is listed as currently active:
19744 Beach Blvd #219
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
McLaughlin’s plan, which he has named the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” refers to “buggery” or “sodomy” as:
“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 Gomorrah.” Under the proposal, “… any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification (would) be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
“… Better that offenders should die rather than that all of ous should be killed by God’s just wrath.”
While attorneys can be disciplined for acts of “moral turpitude,” it is a requirement that relates to the ability to perform their work.
“This is not obviously the kind of act of moral turpitude that calls into question his fitness to practice law,” said David Cameron Carr, an attorney out of San Diego who has spent many years both punishing and defending attorneys at the State Bar. “It’s incredibly vile, and it’s offensive and disgusting. That said, we have the First Amendment that protects speech, and the scope is pretty broad.”And this initiative is, in fact, now testing the limits of free speech as many are asking: Why can’t the state’s initiative process screen out blatantly illegal ideas? While McLaughlin, like everyone, should be free to say what he chooses, the fact that he’s an attorney still has many wondering whether or not he’s fit to practice law. A petition has been created by Carol Dahmen, a media consultant in Sacramento, and as of now nearly 140,000 have people signed. The petition needs roughly 10,000 more.
“It’s an interesting discussion about free speech, and I get that,” Dahmen said. “But this is a lawyer, and he’s advocating for murder.”You too can sign the petition to have Matthew McLaughlin disbarred here.
In the meantime, the measure is likely to pass to the signature-gathering stage since the state Attorney General doesn’t have the authority to stop it. The state Attorney General’s job is to issue a title and summary to an initiative, not to judge its legality.
In a statement from political and election lawyer, Tom Hiltachk:
“While you might say that this initiative is ‘clearly’ illegal (and I would agree), the notion of what is or is not ‘clearly’ illegal is not always so cut and dried,” Hiltachk wrote in an email. “If you give the (attorney general) discretion, there may be cases in which she refused to issue a title and summary asserting that the measure was ‘clearly’ illegal.
“While in this case, it seems foolish and perhaps unwise to issue a title and summary, the better approach is the current approach, prohibiting discretion, so that ‘close cases’ are not inappropriately derailed by a recalcitrant AG.”
Law professor at UC Davis, Vikram Amar stated:
“This one drips of evil, so the instinct is to say ‘Well, there’s got to be a way to avoid wasting everybody’s time,’ but in the law we often have limitations that are built not for the easy cases but because we are worried about the hard cases.”Filing fees for initiatives have not increased since 1943. Since $200 is a reasonably attainable amount of money for most people, the number of initiatives proposed has increased from 47 in the 1960’s to nearly 650 in the 2000’s, many of which can be rather ridiculous.
Just recently a legislation to raise the filing fee from $200 to $8,000 passed the Assembly on a 46-24 vote. There are those who are condemning it however, as it would deprive citizens of their right to propose bills on issues they feel passionate about.
“The issue is not about that person,” said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. “The issue should be about the people’s rights to be able to have a grievance against their government through the initative process if that’s what they choose to do.”It is being reported that Attorney General Kamala Harris is seeking a court judgment that would let her block the initiative to “kill the gays” from progressing to the signature-gathering phase. McLaughlin has been invisible since the story began circulating the news, however he has apparently confirmed that he will not argue the matter in court.