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California Sen. Seeks Bar Review for Lawyer with ‘Kill the Gays’ Proposition

California Sen. Seeks Bar Review for Lawyer with ‘Kill the Gays’ Proposition

A state Senator in California is asking the Bar Association to investigate an attorney who recently proposed a ballot initiative that would require gay people to be executed, according to the Bay Area Reporter.  

Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles, is asking the California Bar Association to review whether Matthew McLaughlin, a conservative attorney based in Orange County, should be licensed to practice law in the state. 

Sen. Lara, who when sworn in for the 2012 session became the state’s first openly gay lawmaker of color, said he was not only shocked by McLaughlin’s proposal, but “deeply disturbed” that an attorney licensed to practice in California would “promote such pitiful, evil, and hateful statements” in a ballot initiative. 

Lara contends McLaughlin’s ballot initiative could be a violation of the California bar’s code of conduct for attorneys, according to the Reporter.

"Qualification to become a licensed attorney not only includes educational requirements and an examination, but also requires demonstrated 'good moral character,'" Lara told the Reporter Monday. "The state bar's admissions rules on good moral character include that those seeking admission to the bar demonstrate respect and obedience for the law, and respect for the rights of others and the judicial process." 

Last month, McLaughlin filed the paperwork to launch a ballot initiative called the Sodomite Suppression Act, which would mandate execution by “bullets to the head or any other convenient method” for “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.” McLaughlin’s rationale, as explained in the proposition, is that it is better for “sodomites” to 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.”

As for allies of LGBT people, McLaughlin’s measure says that anyone who distributes “sodomistic propaganda” to a minor should “be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.” He defines “sodomistic propaganda” as “anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman.”

In California, anyone can propose a ballot initiative by filing the text with the state attorney general’s office and paying a $200 fee. That’s what McLaughlin did February 24, Wonkette reports. After a public review period of 30 days, the attorney general must publish a summary of the measure, and the sponsor can then begin gathering signatures in order to put the initiative before voters in the next election. To get on the ballot, the initiative must have valid signatures from state residents equal to 5 percent of the people who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election. That comes to nearly 366,000 signatures, so McLaughlin has little chance of qualifying the Sodomite Suppression Act for the ballot.

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