Update 24/06/15: The Sodomy Suppression Act has been ruled unconstitutional and will not be permitted to appear on California’s ballot.
Something horrifying and hilarious in equal measure is going on in California right now. California’s lax voter ballot laws allow pretty much any citizen to file a ballot measure (what we’d call a referendum in the UK) so long as they’ve can pay the $200 fee, and every now and again, one makes the headlines for being especially… Unorthodox.
Enter Christian activist and attorney Matt McLaughlin, who has filed a measure at California’s Attorney General Office entitled the “Sodomite Suppression Act”, which states:
The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha.
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 measure also includes a Russian-style “gay propaganda” clause which states:
No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman […] No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does.
In short, McLaughlin’s “Christian” initiative would result in gay Californians being hunted down and exterminated like vermin. Any person who assists or tolerates homosexuals would presumably be denied access to California’s goods and services, such as housing and electricity. Proposed punishments for violating these propaganda clauses include a $1 million fine, and/or up to 10 years imprisonment, and/or expulsion from the State of California.
Clearly somebody skipped over the whole “love thy neighbour” part of the Bible.
The Act violates the constitution in numerous ways, but McLaughlin thinks he’s found a way around that. One of the final clauses of the Act (you can read it in full here) states that its constitutionality can only be assessed by judges from the California Supreme Court who are not “sodomites”.
Clearly somebody also skipped their Constitution 101 class in law school.
Prospective ballot measures require 5% of California voters to approve it before it can even be put to a state-wide vote, which the Sodomy Suppression Act is unlikely to do. Even by some weird twist of fate McLaughlin gets the required number of initial votes, his act will neverget past California’s court system, since the content is so heinous. Thankfully, the California Supreme Court has the power to remove any ballot measure which would violate the state or federal constitution, regardless of whether any “sodomites” are on the bench.
But in a more comedic twist, fellow Californian and attorney Charlotte Laws has filed a ballot initiative of her own, the “Intolerant Jackass Act”, which states:
Any person, herein known as an “Intolerant Jackass,” who brings forth a ballot measure that suggests the killing of gays and/or lesbians, whether this measure is called the Sodomite Suppression Act or is known by some other name, shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three hours per month for twelve consecutive months. In addition, the offender or “Intolerant Jackass” must donate $5000 to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.
Interestingly enough, Laws’ proposal is as unconstitutional as McLaughlin’s. Both would violate free speech as put forward in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but Laws has stated that she doesn’t intend for the Intolerant Jackass Act to become law – the measure is just there to oppose McLaughlin’s measure, and give a voice to all the gay people who would be executed by his oh-so-Christian proposal.
Murdering gay people aside, California’s ballot initiatives often cover a range of interesting topics, such as drug laws, education guidelines, environmental regulations, and even neighbourhood parks.