California official tries to halt outrageous measure calling for death to gays

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
California Attorney General Kamala Harris | Facebook/Kamala Harris

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- A proposed anti-gay ballot measure that seeks to make homosexual activity a crime punishable by execution has little chance to become law, but the state's attorney general is seeking to avoid processing the bill altogether.

Attorney Matthew McLaughlin submitted the "Sodomite Suppression Act" which would make homosexual acts illegal and punishable "by bullets to the head."

Remarkably, it is not a prank.

"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," the draft act states. It also proposes a $1 million fine, 10 years in prison or banishment from the state of California for the distribution of "sodomistic propaganda."

The filing of the proposal begins a process during which McLaughlin will need to collect a required 365,880 signatures to secure his measure on California's upcoming ballot. However, state officials must first affix a title and summary before voters can join the petition asking that it appear on the ballot, the Sacramento Bee reported.

But California Attorney General Kamala Harris is fighting to stop any administative steps that might contribute to consideration of the outrageous proposition. On March 25, she asked a state judge March 25 to stop the process  "to protect the rights of all Californians."

"Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the "Sodomite Suppression Act." If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism," Harris said in a statement.

According to several news sources, McLaughlin has been unreachable for comment. Religion News Service reported that calls to McLaughlin's phone are being rerouted to a full voice mailbox and that the address listed on the ballot measure proposal is a shopping center mail drop in Huntington Beach.

McLaughlin began practicing California law in 1998 and is a graduate of UC Irvine in California and George Mason University School of Law in Virginia.

The law school issued a statement Thursday declining to "repudiate" the initiative.

"It is not the function of schools or other institutions to denounce things with which they have nothing to do. Law schools are not guarantors of the views or acts of their former students," Dean Daniel Polsby said in a statement to the university's board.

"Mr. McLaughlin's filing suggests views that undeniably are out of keeping with the normal civilities of life. But so far as appears, they are also lawful and constitutionally protected expressions," Polsby continued. "Mr. McLaughlin has a right to say what he wants and to petition the government for redress of his grievances – and it is up to him to determine what aggrieves him. Other people have the same rights and are free to use them in a different way – including to criticize Mr. McLaughlin. And still others are free, for a variety of possible reasons, to refuse to be conscripted into a contretemps that has nothing to do with them."

Even if the Sodomite Suppression Act were to appear on a ballot for vote, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized homosexual activity across the U.S. in 2003, rendering the proposed measure unconstitutional.

California legislators have applauded Harris's actions and, according to the Sacromento Bee, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins said the proposal "represents either the depth of bigotry and hatred or the height of sick publicity stunts."

McLaughlin's actions have also prompted state lawmakers to review and amend the ballot initiative process.