Senator Ricardo Lara Calls for Bar Review of Orange County Attorney Responsible for Gay Death Penalty Initiative

It’s instances like these that snap you out of your pleasant walk through the park as if you’ve sharply stubbed your toe on a crack in the sidewalk or rolled your ankle on an unassuming pinecone. It’s quick, it’s surprising and all of a sudden you’re much more aware of your surroundings.

State Senator Ricardo Lara, who represents the 33rd District, which includes Long Beach, and is openly gay himself, has fired back at Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, a real-life lawyer with a bar number and everything (#198329), who floated a proposal he's calling “The Sodomite Suppression Act,” which seeks to make homosexuality a capital offense, punishable by death.

You can read the prickly proposal below, written by the conservative, God-fearing Orange County attorney who posted the initiative to the state Attorney General's website, according to LGBTQNation, where it has since been removed. Perhaps the most disturbing section of the initiative lays out, almost flippantly, McLaughlin's plan for the identification and execution of homosexuals, proposing “[...] 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.”

McLaughlin seeks to make the new law a part of Title 3 of the California Penal Code, which lays out the definition of and punishment for treason against the State. The initiative also states that the new law could only be invalidated by a quorum of California Supreme Court judges who are not, themselves, "sodomites."

In addition to the death penalty for "sodomites," the initiative calls for a million dollar fine, ten years in prison, or expulsion from the state of California for anyone convicted of distributing "sodomistic propaganda"—defined as "anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman"—to minors.

"I was shocked to hear that in 2015 we have an ill-intentioned measure that calls for killing gay people, just because of who they love," Lara told The Bay Area Reporter in an interview on March 9. "It reminds me that while we've made great strides in LGBT equality, we still have so much work to do, even in a state as progressive as California."

Lara is asking the State Bar Association to investigate McLaughlin to determine if the lawyer is in violation of the California bar’s code of conduct.

According to Lara, to become a licensed attorney, one must not only meet all the educational requirements and pass the exam, but one must demonstrate “good moral character,” as well. Rule 2-400 of the California Bar Association Code prohibits licensed practitioners from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation when rendering legal services, Lara told the Bay Area Reporter.

The Senator has urged the LGBT community to get involved against McLaughlin. According to the Bay Area Reporter, the attorney general’s office is reviewing the attorney’s proposal, though political observers have said there is no chance of it gathering the required signatures to make it onto the 2016 ballot.

Sodomite Suppression Act

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