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California's LGBT Caucus files complaint against OC lawyer who wants to "kill the gays"

SACRAMENTO, California – The LGBT Caucus of the California Legislature has filed a formal complaint with the State Bar of California against the Orange County lawyer who has filed a ballot initiative to “kill the gays.”

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News has covered this story from the beginning, and you can read our coverage by clicking HERE.

The complaint by the LGBT Caucus follows a Change.org petition that calls for the OC lawyer to be disbarred.

The LGBT Caucus consists of Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), chair of the group; Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego); Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell); Assemblymember Richard S. Gordon (D-Menlo Park); Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton); Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

The complaint was sent to Craig Holden, president of the board of trustees of the State Bar of California.

A little-known lawyer named Matthew G. McLaughlin (State Bar Number: 198329) filed notice with the California State Department his intent to circulate the “Sodomite Suppression Act” initiative. The caucus writes:

As you may know, Mr. McLaughlin submitted a ballot initiative that would outlaw sodomy and punish offenders with “death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” In addition to calling for the execution of gays and lesbians, Mr. McLaughlin wants to ban anyone “who espouses sodomistic propaganda” from holding public office, and from receiving government benefits or being employed by the state. Furthermore, 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.”

We are shocked and outraged that a member of the State Bar would so callously call for the disenfranchisement, expulsion and murder of members of the LGBT community. We believe that this measure not only fails constitutional muster, but that such inciting and hateful language has no place in our discourse, let alone state constitution. It is an outrage that shadows all of the progress we have made to ensure that all Californians are afforded the same rights and protections under the law.

According to the State Bar’s moral character requirement for admission, members are expected to demonstrate “good moral character” through showing “respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process.” Furthermore, the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, Section 2-400, stipulate that licensed practitioners are prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation, among other protected classes.

As members of the California State Legislature and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, we have spent most of our personal and professional lives combating bigotry wherever it lies. While we believe that this measure may not qualify for the statewide ballot, we cannot in good conscience stand idly by.

We call upon the State Bar of California to fully investigate Mr. McLaughlin’s provocative and potentially unethical actions and to mete out appropriate corrective action.

Meanwhile, the State of California is collecting comments on the proposed initiative. To submit a comment to the California Attorney General's Office about the "Sodomite Suppression Act," click HERE. Comments will be accepted through March 28, 2015.

2015-03-10 Bar Complaint FINAL

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Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.