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Lawmaker seeks bar review of lawyer who filed ‘gay death penalty’ proposal

Lawmaker seeks bar review of lawyer who filed ‘gay death penalty’ proposal
Ricardo Lara
Ricardo Lara

SAN FRANCISCO — An openly gay California state lawmaker is asking the State Bar Association to investigate the Orange County attorney who filed for a ballot initiative seeking to criminilize homosexuality and impose a death penalty for gays.

From The Bay Area Reporter:

State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) has called on the state bar to review attorney Matthew McLaughlin, who submitted the Sodomite Suppression Act to the state attorney general’s office last week, to determine if he is in violation of the bar’s “good moral character” clause that’s required for bar membership.

McLaughlin, a conservative Orange County attorney, has been roundly criticized for the initiative, which most political observers say has no chance of getting the more than 350,000 qualified signatures for the 2016 ballot.

In his letter to state bar board President Craig Holden, Lara said he is “deeply disturbed” that a member of the bar would “promote such pitiful, evil, and hateful statements in his proposed initiative.”

McLaughlin’s initiative calls for LGBT people to be “put to death by bullets to the head.” The proposal also calls for imprisonment of people who support LGBTs, and that they should be fined, exiled from the state, and barred from public office.

Lara says that McLaughlin’s measure isn’t just offensive, it’s in violation of the California bar’s code of conduct for attorneys.

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“The state bar’s admissions rules on good moral character include that those seeking admission to the bar demonstrate respect and obedience for the law, and respect for the rights of others and the judicial process,” he says.

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McLaughlin’s ballot proposal, originally posted to the state Attorney General’s website, has since been removed, but a copy of the filing is here. A department spokesperson told LGBTQ Nation on Wednesday the measure was withdrawn “by the petitioner.”

The Attorney General’s office declined additional comment on the measure.

“It reminds me that while we’ve made great strides in LGBT equality, we still have so much work to do, even in a state as progressive as California,” Lara told the Bay Area Reporter.

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