A attorney in Huntington Beach, California by the name of Matt McLaughlin has spent US$200 to propose a ballot measure to make it legal to execute gay men and lesbians by ‘bullets to the head,’ or ‘any other convenient method.’
Donald Bentz, executive director for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, has called the move ‘terrifying and almost laughable in the same breath’, and is worried the measure could actually come before voters, he was quoted as saying by ABC News.
The state attorney general’s office said it’s reviewing the proposal and if approved, more than 300,000 valid signatures would need to be collected on petitions before it would be placed on the ballot.
The initiative titled the ‘Sodomite Suppression Act’ reads, ‘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 for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, 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.’
USAToday reported that a group of state lawmakers last week filed a complaint against the proponent.
The legislature’s LGBT Caucus has also asked the state bar to review McLaughlin’s membership for violating a ‘good moral character’ clause.
Legal experts however said they don’t see the state bar stepping in.
‘I think that’s problematic under the First Amendment because he’s not acting as a lawyer when he’s submitting these proposals, he’s acting as a citizen,’ said Vikram Amar, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis.
He added that he’s confident the proposal would not become law.
‘Something like this will ultimately never become law because it blatantly violates the state constitution and the US Constitution,’ he said. ‘There’s no question this is not even going to be a real thing, but the question is at what point do you put an end to it.’
California legislators are currently debating methods of screening out murderous or outrageous ballot initiatives, such as significantly raising the filing fee however the low fees and low barrier have enabled activists to submit thousands of orphan causes over the years.
The Sacramento Bee however noted that the US$200 price tag has enabled California political activists to draft and submit thousands of orphan causes: eliminating divorce, requiring public schools to offer Christmas caroling, making criminals of those who lie during political campaigns.
So far, almost 12,000 people have signed a petition asking the bar association to disbar McLaughlin.