California A.G. tries to stop ‘Kill the Gays’ law

James Patrick Carraghan
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Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, has requested a court order to allow her to refuse to make way for the circulation of petitions to place a proposed state law that would make same-sex sexual acts a crime punishable by death on the ballot.

The Sodomite Suppression Act proposed by Matthew McLaughlin is attempting to make its way to becoming a ballot measure under California’s initiative and referendum law. McLaughlin, who is an attorney in Orange County, paid the $200 fee to propose the law in late February.

Although Harris says the proposed initiative would clearly violate both the United States Constitution and California’s state Constitution, the initiative and referendum law requires Harris provide an official title and summary of the initiative after the paperwork has been filed and the fee has been paid.

After the wheel is set in motion, McLaughlin needs to obtain at least 365,880 signatures of registered voters within a 180 day period to be placed on the ballot. Several observers have said that the petitions for the law would be the same thing as asking California voters to approve systematic, state-enforced hate crime.

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‘Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the [State Superior] 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 recent statement on the issue.

The text of McLaughlin’s proposal leaves no doubt as to its meaning, stating clearly:

‘The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, given of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

‘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.’

The law continues with a provision allowing citizens to execute LGBT+ people and seek reimbursement from the state should it fail to fulfill the requirements:

‘Should the state persist in inaction over one year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability.’

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The death penalty in California was previously ruled unconstitutional in July 2014, which means that, even if it passed, the law would also be ruled unconstitutional on that basis. McLaughlin hopes to put the initiative on the ballot in the 2016 election. The full text of the proposal may be read here.

A petition on to disbar McLaughlin is available here. As of this writing, the petition has 83,000+ signatures.

Photo Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images

About James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at