Matt McLaughlin’s anti-gay ballot measure proposal is so extreme it almost seems like a parody of same-sex marriage proponents. At least, I hope it’s a parody. The idea that McLaughlin’s proposal might be serious is terrifying.
McLaughlin‘s first decree is that homosexuals “be put to death by bullets to the head – or by any other convenient method.” Moreover, the “general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially.” Murder of homosexuals, mass murder in fact, would be a public duty. The proposal would allow anyone to kill anyone else, provided that the victim was homosexual. Since the dead can’t talk, the proposal is a public license to kill.
As if legalized genocide wasn’t enough, McLaughlin’s proposal has two other outrageous provisions. The second provision is that it would be illegal to distribute information aimed at promoting acceptance of homosexual relations, a clear violation of the First Amendment’s free speech right. The third provision is that homosexuals can’t serve in public office, hold a government job, or receive public benefits.
The proposal is over the top, but there’s a subtlety in the design. The proposal also prohibits any court from hearing a case on the proposed law before the California Supreme Court hears the case. This last provision is a response to Proposition 8, the California proposition that made same-sex marriage illegal, but was overturned by the courts. The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 though, making the proposal’s choice of court logical (even if no judge would vote to uphold this). The limit on jurisdiction indicates that the proposal was written with more care than mere disdain of homosexuality.
McLaughlin Should Be Suspended from the Bar for This Stunt
Why am I taking the time to dissect a proposal that probably wouldn’t even get enough signatures to get on the ballot? Some people are calling for McLaughlin’s disbarment. I wouldn’t go that far, but I think the state bar should suspend McLaughlin for this stunt.
It’s obvious that McLaughlin applied his knowledge of the law when he drafted this excuse for a proposal. A lay person who wanted to kill homosexuals wouldn’t take the time to limit the courts’ ability to hear the case or select the court which upheld the previous proposition that prohibited same-sex marriage. McLaughlin actually did research on this and it’s research on the type of questions that most non-lawyers wouldn’t even think about. This proposal is only possible because McLaughlin is a lawyer.
Since McLaughlin’s legal knowledge and skills were used to advance this farce, McLaughlin was acting as a lawyer when he submitted his bogus proposal. Lawyers cannot file frivolous papers to the courts. A proposal that advocates for a license to murder is frivolous because the proposal has no chance of passing and has no chance of being upheld even if the public lost its collective minds.
Granted, submitting a ballot submission is not the same as filing a paper with a court. However, the ballot initiative system is still a public forum and lawyers like McLaughlin should not be wasting taxpayer money on jokes like this. McLaughlin should be suspended for abusing a state resource by filing a frivolous document.
Despite what the homosexual community and its advocates think, I don’t think McLaughlin should be disbarred. In addition to all the typical concerns about free speech, McLaughlin is a lawyer. Lawyers have the ability – the power- to advocate for a change in the law. The public and the state bar expect that the changes advocated will be positive changes, like desegregation, rather than advocating for murder. The fact is though there is no rule that the changes lawyers propose have to be positive changes in the law.
The problem is that McLaughlin’s proposed legal change would destroy the very law it would be changing. The proposal would throw people in jail for promoting acceptance of homosexual relations. It’s obvious that would be unconstitutional even to the most legally illiterate among us. The proposal advocates for murder. It’s obvious that’s immoral even to the most depraved persons. McLaughlin wouldn’t be changing course in the ship of state; he would be sinking the ship entirely.
I’ve treated McLaughlin’s proposal like he’s 100 percent serious about this scheme, when in fact this is probably just a crazy parody (I hope). I appreciate that he could be making a point by parodying the other side, or that he’s advocating for a change in the state initiative system by showing that even the craziest of propositions could make it to the ballot. However, McLaughlin could do that without abusing his profession, a profession that many already see as amoral at best.