Monday Morning Thoughts: Sodomite Suppression Exposes Mockery of System

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lgbt-flagIt sounds like something we would have come up with a joke in college. Just as Jonathan Swift once opined about eating babies as a solution to the Irish Famine, passing an absurd proposition would expose the proposition system for the fraud it really is.

Except this was no joke put forward by Huntington Beach Attorney Matt McLaughlin, attempting to suppress what he called an “abominable crime against nature known as buggery,” and seeking 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.”

“No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority,” he continues. “Every offender shall 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.”

Surely such a law could easily be disposed of and stricken before it makes a mockery of the system – but no.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, in a release last week, wrote, “As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians.”

“This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society,” she continued. “Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the ‘Sodomite Suppression Act.’”

She would add, “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.”

The lack of action by officials, however, led Charlotte Laws of Woodland Hills to introduce the “Intolerant Jackass Act.” In it she declares, “The abominable crime known as prejudice against sexual orientation, called also ‘gay bashing,’ is a destructive view that society commands us to suppress.”

Under such an act, “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 (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months. In addition, the offender or ‘Intolerant Jackass’ must donate $5000 to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.”

Clever, but this continues the mockery that is the California proposition system.

LA Times reporter Mariel Garza would opine, “Harris bestowed a level of gravity on a nutty proposal that would have otherwise probably died a quiet, ignoble death in some dark corner.”

She notes, “Not only does it appear that she doesn’t have the authority to keep offensive proposals from voters, but it also just gives the idea and its creator, Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin, more power. His last initiative attempt in 2003, a measure requiring the Bible be used as a textbook in public K-12 schools, didn’t go anywhere either, and with good reason.”

The LA Times Editorial Board covers for the proposition system, arguing this “is no reason for radical initiative reform.” Why? They argue, “it’s highly unlikely that this measure will make it to the ballot.”

They ask, “Who really believes McLaughlin can gather 365,880 signatures for it?”

One proposal is to raise the filing fee from $200 to $8000. The Times points out that the fee has not been increased in over 70 years, but “the fee should not be used as a tool to make it harder to file undesirable initiatives.”

Which is the real problem we face – the real damaging propositions, those that have a real chance of passing, are backed by tens of millions of dollars. For example, the plastic bag manufacturers are putting millions into an initiative that would overturn the bag ban. A fee hike will do nothing to stop the inequity of the system that allows deep pockets to put measures on the ballot and makes it difficult for the average citizen.

So while in this case it is a good thing that it is hard for a single person without millions in the bank to pass an initiative – the real problem is that the system which was put in place to allow the citizens to circumvent corrupt legislators has become a tool for the rich and powerful to circumvent democratically elected leaders.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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16 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Sodomite Suppression Exposes Mockery of System”

  1. Barack Palin

    Which is the real problem we face – the real damaging propositions, those that have a real chance of passing, are backed by tens of millions of dollars. For example, the plastic bag manufacturers are putting millions into an initiative that would overturn the bag ban.

    Maybe you see the bag ban overturn as a damaging proposition, but others see it as a way to stop a law that they feel is needless.

  2. zaqzaq

    A Proposition on a ballot is just an opportunity for uniformed voters to make a decision on a sound bite and for our Attorney General to play politics when she names the ballot initiatives.  Prop 47 is a great example.  What does it have to do with safe schools or neighborhoods?  But everyone is for safe schools and safe neighborhoods.

    1. Barack Palin

      Prop 47 is a great example.  What does it have to do with safe schools or neighborhoods?

      Yes, that was a real mind boggler, let’s release convicts into society and it will create safe schools and neighborhoods.

  3. Frankly

    If McLaughlin can gather 365,880 signatures for it then it is a legitimate initiative.  There is no mockery of the system given all the other absurd initiatives pushed by activists.

    The initiative process itself is evidence of a broken state political system.  But it has value providing some balance to the one-sided political idiocy the state is known for.

    1. darelldd

      Killing people because of their personal preferences. You are going to anonymously stand by your conviction that this is legitimate… if it can gather enough signatures? Even you can’t be serious about that.

      Would you also find legitimacy in an initiative that condoned killing people who posted anonymously on Vanguard articles? Provided there were enough signatures?

      You keep using “activist” as a negative, generalizing label. I wonder… do you realize that YOU are an activist?

  4. DanH

    Lost somewhere in the first chapter of this ridiculous farce is the attorney who applied for the ballot initiative process. All that is known about attorney Matt McLaughlin is that he has rented a mail box at a Huntington Beach strip mall for a very long time, applied for the initiative process in 2004 for a Bible in schools measure and his name appears on the attorney list of the State Bar in California. He doesn’t answer calls at his phone number and doesn’t list an email address. McLaughlin’s internet history is mysteriously scant for a practicing attorney.  I am expecting explosive developments in this story on April 1.

  5. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    A Proposition on a ballot is just an opportunity for uniformed voters to make a decision on a sound bite and for our Attorney General to play politics when she names the ballot initiatives.”

    Perhaps, but even if true, she is far from along in the “playing politics” game. Do you see this as a genuine bill that anyone believes would have any reasonable chance of being enacted into law.  Or is some one just “playing politics” in order to have a semi legitimate way to have their hate filled message widely distributed ?

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    This unidentified kook will likely never get the signatures needed, but the story fits the liberal narrative.

    The media and blogs won’t cover stories that don’t fit the victim narrative, like the heroic Boston officer who was just shot at point-blank range in the face, and died. The media wouldn’t like to portray an officer who happens to be white as a hero, focus on violent crime, or have to deal with a criminal with a long rap sheet who happens to be black.

    Then when I was reading that sad story in the New York Daily News, I saw a link to a story about a MetroLink rider in St. Louis who was jumped by three young men. David Autry was one of the few white passengers, was jumped by young men who weren’t, and no passengers came to his rescue. His crime? The men asked him his feelings about Michael Brown, and he said he didn’t have an opinion. This is all on video tape, but then youtube interestingly took it down. Political pressure?

    Instead, one kook gets the attention.

    1. Tia Will

      TBD

      The media and blogs won’t cover stories that don’t fit the victim narrative, like the heroic Boston officer who was just shot at point-blank range in the face, and died. The media wouldn’t like to portray an officer who happens to be white as a hero, focus on violent crime, or have to deal with a criminal with a long rap sheet who happens to be black.”

      I strongly suspect that you and I would not have known about the Boston officer if it had not been covered by “the media”.

       

  7. hpierce

    Let’s face it…. Ms Harris doesn’t give a damn about the initiative, except she is between a ‘rock and a hard place’… if she and her staff do their job, give the measure a title, and impartial analysis, she’ll lose liberal votes, even if the measure doesn’t get more than 5 signatures, and never comes to a vote… she will have ‘aided and abetted’ the nut case on a ‘quixotic quest’.  If she used her office to quash it, she’d give her political enemies/competitors ammunition.  She punted.  At this season, think (if you know the Christian view) Pontius Pilate.  She’s trying to keep her hands clean.

    Did not have much respect for her before.  Now, punting an issue to serve her political ambitions, tying up much more in the way of public time and effort to CHA, I’d not vote for her.  I’d rather leave a blank box on that ballot, if it comes to that.

    IMO, the professional way for her to have handled it was have her and her staff do what they are charged with doing, expressing all the disgust she would be entitled to, then watch it “fail for the lack of a second”.  My perverse side wonders if she and the initiative’s author conspired to get the drama/attention they both seem to aspire to.

  8. Tia Will

    hpierce

    My perverse side wonders if she and the initiative’s author conspired to get the drama/attention they both seem to aspire to.”

    By all means, let’s make up a story about someone with whom we disagree politically without a shred of evidence to support the claim. That will certainly get an insightful conversation going.

    1. hpierce

      Yet, you ignore all but my last, ‘throwaway’ sentence [.een said it was a dark side thought].. also certainly contributes to an insightful discussion.  Touche.

      10% of my sentences, you pick one to throw away the 9. Nice. VERY professional.

      Hope you aren’t faced with 10 symptoms and don’t act because 1 doesn’t fit. I’m a liberal (1st deviation level, who voted for Feinstein every time I could [but NOT Boxer]). You really believe Harris is taking her stand based on morals/ethics, and not politics?

    2. hpierce

      Oh, Tia, do you have any doubt that the proponent of the initiative is seeking anything other than publicity or stirring the waters?  As an attorney himself, do you think he thinks it would have any chance of surviving ‘constitutional muster’?  Do you think he has any chance of getting the required signatures?  Do you think, even if he does, it would have any chance of passing?  It’s a sick joke, in my opinion.

      Yet, Harris is giving him, and herself, “airtime” and prominence.

      And, yet you criticize me for a ‘tongue in cheek’ suggestion that they are deliberately ‘feeding off’ one another to what they may perceive as “greater glory”.  You’re right…. wrong for me to say they’re in “kahootz”… yet, each will play it for all it’s worth, in my opinion.  9 of my statements stand, and you stand out as accusing me of raising the 9 sentences as not contributing to analysis. [by focussing on 1, ignoring the nine]

      Appears you would only want points attacking the initiator, or defending your political preference for Senator as being “contributing”.  Nice.

      All: make no mistake, the proposed initiative, in my view, is an “abomination”, but it should die a natural death, and not be sensationalized. We’ll have this problem from time to time, with the initiative process, but I’d rather keep it rather than dismantle it. Democracy can be messy, but I still prefer it.

  9. Tia Will

    hpierce

    I have a few thoughts about your posts from yesterday.

    1. I was unaware that my comments besides those that I make about medical issues were being judged for their “professionalism”. I doubt that any of us who comment here could be held to that standard outside our own field.

    2. I do not pretend to know the full range of intentions of Ms. Harris. I suspect like most in the public eye some of her intent is targeted on doing her job to the best of her ability, and some of her intent is probably targeted at her professional advancement. Again, I suppose that this is probably true of all public types who aspire to higher public office.

    3. I did not consider what you said to be a “throw away”comment, any more than I consider any negative comment made in a political forum about any public figure to be “throw away”. I believe that negative comments about public figures are usually meant to damage them in some way such as the recent comments made about the “ignorance” of our Mayor spoken because a poster does not like a stand he took. One can disagree with disparaging another individual.

    4. Looking at her actions from another perspective, perhaps she is serious about speaking out and acting on behalf of all Californians as is her charge. Seen in this light, should she just ignore the equivalent ( in my opinion) of a noose being hung in a public place with a sign up sheet under it saying sign here if you want my proposition to hang any non Caucasian from the nearest tree. Would that petition have any chance of passing. My guess would be “no” but it would be wrong to not comment on it ( again in my opinion) if one were the AG.

    5. The reason that I chose only your last sentence to comment on was, while I did not agree with the rest of your post, since I am not a mind reader, I have no ability to judge Ms. Harris ( or your intent) it was the only sentence that was so egregious that I felt it could not go without a challenge. And as always, it doesn’t matter to me whether the commenter is liberal, conservative, or somewhere in the middle, I have called out my political colleagues when I do not agree with them just as readily as I have called out political opponents. For me, it is the content of the idea that matters, not the political affiliation of the commenter.

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