California Attorney Facing Bar Complaint Over Proposed Measure To Allow For The Execution Of Gays And Lesbians

California flagAttorney Matt McLaughlin, an attorney in Huntington Beach, California, is facing a call for disbarment after he filed for a statewide resolution that would legalize the execution of gay people and make it a crime to support gay rights in the state. Anyone can file such papers and, for just $200, force the attorney general to prepare a title and a summary for the proposed new law. The question is whether this despicable act can or should be used for a bar action as conduct that shows that he is not of “good moral character.”

The 2016 initiative, named the “Sodomite Suppression Act”, is awaiting further review by the office of the state attorney general, Kamala Harris, and would mandate “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.” It would also make it a crime to support gay rights, punishable by a $1 million fine and up to 10 years in prison (as well as expulsion from the state). It would also make it illegal to distribute “sodomistic propaganda” to “any person under the age of majority”. Furthermore, being a “sodomite” or distributing “sodomistic propaganda” would disqualify a resident from serving in public office or public employment and from enjoying any public benefit. McLaughlin stated in his proposal that it is “better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath”. Suffice it to say, McLaughlin has some serious issues as well as a serious need for psychoanalysis.

However, what he did was the exercise of a legal action with the political system. There is an ironic twist to the notion of his claims of morality being used to establish that he is not of “good moral character.” We have faced this type of issue before. If an attorney does not engage in discriminatory or hateful treatment of clients or witnesses, should he be punished for his political or moral views? I tend to be leery of speech being the basis for criminal or bar sanctions because it is difficult to see where to draw the line. There are many attorneys who engage in political speech as individuals that is deemed insulting to different races or genders.

RicardoLaraState senator Ricardo Lara and others have filed a formal complaint with the state bar. It is not clear if any proceeding would bring up past controversies with McLaughlin, including his 2004 proposed initiative to add the King James Bible as a textbook in California public schools. Once again, such efforts are taken in his capacity as a citizen within the political system.

What do you think?

364 thoughts on “California Attorney Facing Bar Complaint Over Proposed Measure To Allow For The Execution Of Gays And Lesbians”

  1. In view of the fact that private expressions of sexuality between consenting adults of the same gender don’t and can’t impinge on the freedom or safety of others, we’d seem well advised to examine the possible psychological factors at work in homophobia:

    Recent research in social cognition has revealed the importance of stereotypes as cognitive categories for imposing order and predictability on the world. (Emphasis added) Some people feel the need for categorization [This applies, of course, to categorization or labeling in general] so strongly that they increase their liking for a person simply because she or he labels another as homosexual.

    “Homosexual persons who violate stereotypical expectations (e.g., masculine gay men and feminine lesbians) may actually be disliked. Such nonconformity may not be noticed, however, since labeling itself can lead people to perceive stereotypical behaviors, whether or not they occur. . . .

    “It frequently is assumed that feelings of personal threat result in strong negative attitudes toward homosexuality, whereas lack of threat leads to neutral or positive attitudes. This perspective often is associated with the term homophobia, and it derives from a psychodynamic view that prejudiced attitudes serve to reduce tension aroused by unconscious conflicts. (Emphasis added)

    “Attitudes are likely to serve a defensive function when an individual perceives some analogy between homosexual persons and her or his own unconscious conflicts. Subsequently, that person responds to gay men and lesbians as a way of externalizing inner conflicts and thereby reducing the anxiety associated with them. The conflicts specific to anti-homosexual prejudice presumably involve a person’s gender identity, sexual object choice, or both.

    For example, unconscious conflicts about one’s own sexuality or gender identity might be attributed to lesbians and gay men through a process of projection. Such a strategy permits people to externalize the conflicts and to reject their own unacceptable urges by rejecting lesbians and gay men (who symbolize those urges) without consciously recognizing the urges as their own. Since contact with homosexual persons threatens to make conscious those thoughts that have been repressed, it inevitably arouses anxiety in defensive individuals. Consequently, defensive attitudes are likely to be negative. (Emphasis added)

    “Several psychodynamic explanations offered for attitudes toward lesbians and gay men fit with the defensive function. Heterosexual men may envy gay men because the latter are not constrained by the masculine ideal. Heterosexuals may also envy the sexual freedom presumably enjoyed by lesbians and gay men. In either case, the envy is presumably translated unconsciously into hostility.

    “In a similar vein, Cory (1951) also proposed that negative feelings toward opposite-sex homosexuals result from heterosexuals’ feelings of rejection as potential sexual partners. Weinberg (1972) hypothesized that since many people strive for vicarious immortality by having children, and since lesbians and gay men are perceived (incorrectly) as having rejected this means for eluding the finality of death, the latter evoke an unconscious fear of death.

    Many particular empirical findings I have mentioned make sense if we assume that negative attitudes often are based in part on a defensive function: the finding that people are more negative toward homosexuals of their own sex than toward those of the opposite sex (since same-sex homosexuals presumably are more threatening); the positive correlations between hostile attitudes toward homosexuality and variables such as authoritarianism’ cognitive rigidity’ intolerance of ambiguity, and dogmatism (all of these personality traits presumably indicate higher levels of defensiveness); and the positive correlations between hostility and sex-guilt sexual conservatism, and non-permissiveness (all of which might indicate conflicts about sexuality). (Emphasis added)

    “McConahay and Hough (1976) defined symbolic racism as ‘the expression [by whites], in terms of abstract ideological symbols and symbolic behaviors, [of] the feeling that blacks are violating cherished values and making illegitimate demands for changes in the racial status quo.’ This definition can be used to delineate the third functional category of attitudes toward lesbians and gay men.

    “As with symbolic racism, symbolic sexual attitudes express the feeling that cherished values are being violated and that illegitimate demands are being made for changes in the status quo. I will expand the definition, however, to include favorable attitudes that are based upon the belief that discrimination and prejudice themselves violate the values of freedom and equality.

    “Whether favorable or unfavorable, symbolic attitudes derive from socialization experiences, past and present. They express values important to one’s concept of self, thereby helping individuals to establish their identity and affirm their notion of the sort of person they perceive themselves to be, while simultaneously mediating their relation to other important individuals and reference groups. This is part of an ongoing social dialectic through which one’s sense of self develops while it also defines interpersonal relationships.

    “The symbolic pattern is apparent in the empirical data already summarized. Heterosexuals who express hostile attitudes toward homosexual persons also tend to endorse traditional ideologies of family, sexuality’ and sex roles, and often are prejudiced against other minorities as well. (Emphasis added)

    “That some of these same findings also apply to the defensive function underscores the complex, overdetermined nature of attitudes toward homosexual persons. Attitudes serving different functions can be correlated with identical behaviors.

    “For persons with symbolic attitudes, certain reference groups appear to be particularly influential. As already mentioned, people who are involved in church groups (as indicated by frequent attendance at church services) reflect the historical religious bias against lesbians and gay men, and this is especially so for Christians.

    “People who grew up in areas where higher tolerance exists for diversity also hold more positive attitudes toward lesbians and gay men; these include city-dwellers and people from the northeastern and Pacific coastal regions of the United States.

    “The same studies report that more tolerant attitudes are held by younger persons (whose cohorts’ values reflect the liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s) and by persons with more education (who presumably have been exposed to liberal values on a college campus).

    “Finally, people are more tolerant of lesbians and gay men if their parents also displayed tolerance.“

    Excerpted with permission from “Beyond ‘Homophobia’: A Social Psychological Perspective on Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men” by Gregory M. Herek in the Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 10, No. 1/2 (1984), pp. 1-15. Footnotes omitted.

  2. In his characteristically forthright way, Charlie Pierce has a few observations regarding David Brooks and Indiana’s new statute:

    “Before we deal with the well-mannered moral monster that is David Brooks, we should dispense with some of the WeaselSpeak that has attended Mike Pence’s successful attempt at killing his tourist economy. There is no doubt — none — that the law Pence signed is directly aimed at the rights of LGBT citizens — and specifically, at their right to get married.

    “It isn’t about protecting the rights of the Amish in Decatur County to grow their beards, and it isn’t about allowing the remaining members of the Kickapoo Nation to use whatever they want in their religious rituals. It is about allowing people to discriminate against their fellow citizens in thousands of private transactions. The history of this bill begins almost to the day on which Indiana’s attempts to ban marriage equality failed in the courts. Its primary supporters admitted its real purpose right from jump.

    “Micah Clark of the American Family Association explained to The Indianapolis Star that the bill would allow small businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples and also that it would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples. The Indiana Family Institute made an end-of-year fundraising pitch that promoted the legislation, noting examples of small businesses who were facing discrimination complaints from same-sex couples.

    “And, if its purpose was as anodyne as Pence now makes it out to be, and if Pence is as blindsided by the backlash as he’s now pretending to be, then why did he sign it in a secret ceremony in which he was surrounded by some of the state’s most serious professional homophobes?

    “(And, not for nothing, but when you’ve lost Dan Quayle’s old family newspaper, it’s time to wonder how far off the diving board you’ve actually jumped.)
    Which brings us to David Brooks, who would like all those hysterical gay people to start using their inside voices and to understand that their desire for equal protection under the law would be better served if they understood the feelings of the people who think they are sodomite insects who are all going to hell. No link because fk him, that’s why.

    ” ‘As a matter of principle, it is simply the case that religious liberty is a value deserving our deepest respect, even in cases where it leads to disagreements as fundamental as the definition of marriage. Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down. But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.’

    “Morality is a politeness of the soul”? What kind of dog’s breakfast is that? Jesus His Own Self said he brought not peace, but a sword. If Brooks wants to stand with religious-based bigotry, with the Micah Clarks of the world, he should just do so and stop wasting all of our time as a sewage-treatment plant for the worst instincts in our politics.

    ” ‘Neighborly problems’? If Brooks wants to say that discrimination against LGBT citizens is not really discrimination worthy of the law’s attention, he should just say so, and stop wasting all our time putting Bull Connor in a $500 suit.

    “Here’s a ‘creative accommodation’ for you. Don’t be a bigot.”

    1. Ken – Dan Quayle’s old family newspaper was bought and run by Democrats. You really need to keep up.

  3. Paul C.
    If I were to tell you that I’m a pauper while dressed in a three piece Armani gaberdine wool suit that’s silk lined while standing in my Hugo Boss slip ons…
    … would I be credible?

    1. Max-1 –

      Paul C.
      If I were to tell you that I’m a pauper while dressed in a three piece Armani gaberdine wool suit that’s silk lined while standing in my Hugo Boss slip ons…
      … would I be credible?

      We have a Goodwill Store downtown where lawyers and their wives drop off their stuff. You could get everything you are wearing for about $10.

  4. The schools should delay a week and play in another State…
    … But this is a start. And there’s always next year where planning starts NOW!

    Duke Statement About Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law

    March 30, 2015

    Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued March 30 by Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations. The Duke men’s basketball team is scheduled to play in the NCAA Final Four next weekend in Indianapolis.

    DURHAM, NC – “Duke University continues to stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal and inclusive world, and we deplore any effort to legislate bias and discrimination. We share the NCAA’s concern about the potential impact of the new law, and will be vigilant to ensure that our student-athletes, supporters, and indeed all citizens and visitors are treated fairly and with respect.”

Comments are closed.