By Adrianna Lopez, Sandy Lopez and Martin Hernandez
Huntington Beach Attorney Matthew McLaughlin’s ballot initiative calling for the execution of gays and lesbians with a bullet to the head has drawn outrage from the college community.
McLaughlin’s so-called Sodomite Suppression Act asserts that same-sex marriage is a “monstrous evil.”
McLaughlin was able to submit his proposal with a $200 fee, and needs to collect about 365,000 signatures or about five percent of the electorate, within 180 days for the proposal to appear in the 2016 ballot. The initiative faces several roadblocks. Attorney General Kamala Harris has gone to court to keep the proposal off the ballot. A California judge also ruled the death penalty to be unconstitutional in September.
In an informal survey of SAC students, all said they were against the initiative.
“I think it’s stupid, and find it unconstitutional and unfair,” said sophomore dance major Daisy Tochihuitl.
The wording and concept are derogatory, hurtful and evil, said SAC communications professor Lance Lockwood, and LGBT activist.
“It surprises me how far it’s gone,” says Lockwood. “It frightens me that people have signed it.”
The LGBT community fought back with online petitions and a ballot initiative.
Activist Carol Dahmen’s Change.org petition campaign has more than 100,000 signatures calling for The California Bar to strip McLaughlin’s license to practice law in the state.
SAC student Jorge Morales agrees.
“He should be reevaluated for his practice,” Morales said, adding that California should monitor extreme initiatives. “It makes me feel disgusted and disappointed to know that people would sign something like that.”
Charlotte Laws filed the Intolerant Jackass Act initiative. Under her initiative, citizens who call for the execution of gays should be fined $5,000 and required to attend three hours of sensitivity training three hours a month for a year.
In the last five years, the gay and lesbian community has gained acceptance and secured rights and legal protections, such as the right to marry in some states. Prominent figures, such as TV host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, have come out and received popular support.
Still, that such initiatives even exist and have some support reveals that the LGBT community has more work to do.
“This reaffirms that we have a long way to go in the development of an empathic society,” said sociology professor Tiffany Gause said.