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Kill the Gays Ballot Measure: Is proponent eligible to sign his own initiative?

By on March 24, 2015
Sodomite Suppression Act

An Orange County attorney who has proposed a ballot measure to kill gays and lesbians may not be able to sign his own initiative petition.

A review of state and national voter records failed to locate voter registration information for Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, the Huntington Beach attorney who submitted paperwork for a ballot measure that proposes to “put to death by bullets to the head” gays and lesbians in California.

Although there is no explicit requirement that a person be registered to vote in order to begin the initiative process with the State Attorney General’s office, state law mandates that the petition to the Secretary of State be submitted by a registered voter.

California Elections Code 9009 states:

9009. The heading of an initiative petition shall be in substantially the following form:
Initiative Measure to Be Submitted Directly to the Voters

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following circulating title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

(Here set forth the unique numeric identifier provided by the Attorney General and circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General. Both the Attorney General’s unique numeric identifier and the circulating title and summary must also be printed across the top of each page of the petition whereon signatures are to appear.)

To the Honorable Secretary of State of California
We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of California, residents of ____ County (or City and County), hereby propose amendments to the Constitution of California (the ____ Code, relating to ____) and petition the Secretary of State to submit the same to the voters of California for their adoption or rejection at the next succeeding general election or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election or as otherwise provided by law. The proposed constitutional (or statutory) amendments (full title and text of the measure) read as follows:

That provision would exclude McLaughlin if he’s not registered to vote, as state and national voter registration databases appear to indicate. That would effectively put the brakes on a measure that media outlets have been claiming “can’t be stopped.”

Sodomite Suppression Act: Kill the Gays Initiative

On February 26, McLaughlin paid a $200 filing fee and submitted the necessary paperwork to circulate the initiative, “The Sodomite Suppression Act.”

“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 proposed initiative reads.

In addition to the death penalty for gays and lesbians, McLaughlin wants to ban anyone ‘who espouses sodomistic propaganda’ from holding public office, receiving government benefits or being employed by the state. Anyone caught disseminating ‘sodomistic propaganda’ to minors would 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.”

20,000 people sign petition to disbar proponent

State bar records show McLaughlin graduated from George Mason University School of Law after obtaining his undergraduate degree from UC Irvine. He’s an active lawyer that was admitted to State Bar of California in December 1998. The State Bar of California claims that all applicants pass “a screening for moral character.”

An online petition that is calling for the state bar to disbar McLaughlin has gained nearly 20,000 signatures.

“It is disturbing and outrageous that a lawyer admitted to the California State Bar would disgrace the profession and the state,” the petition, started by Carol Dahmen, reads. “This immoral individual is unfit to practice law. He should be immediately be barred from practicing law in California.”

California’s Record Low Initiative Threshold

If there was ever a year for such an outrageous initiative to reach the ballot, 2016 is it. As wrote in December, California’s record-low turnout in 2014 will lead to a record number of ballot measures in 2016.

The threshold for qualifying a ballot measure is 5 percent of the total votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election. Due to a record low turnout in last November’s election. that threshold is now just 365,880 valid signatures — the lowest number in 30 years.



About John Hrabe

John Hrabe spends his time traveling the world as a freelance journalist. When he isn’t on an international flight, John writes about state and national politics for,, Huffington Post and the editorial pages of the Orange County Register. John’s most recent high-profile investigation uncovered the questionable labor practices of Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit organization famous for its secondhand clothing stores.

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