An Irish American attorney in California has just proposed a new bill to legalize murdering gay people. You read that right. Matt McLaughlin, from Huntington Beach in Orange County, recently tabled what he called The Sodomite Suppression Act, which prescribes a bullet to the head for anyone in the state who ever has gay sex.
In the bill he writes that it is “better that offenders (gay people) should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath.” The bill adds that anyone who touches a person of the same gender for sexual gratification should be put to death by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
He’s quite a few coupons short of a toaster obviously, but being an attorney McLaughlin knows that once he has paid the required fee, state law directs the attorney general must prepare a title and forward it to the secretary of state for a 90-day period of public signature-gathering. State Attorney General Kamala Harris may have no choice but to clear the bill for circulation in May.
But the bill doesn’t just stop at calling for the execution of gays, because McLaughlin adds: “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.”
That last part is just another so-called Religious Freedom Act written in unvarnished language. Gay people are a line in the sand for McLaughlin’s murderous morality, and he wants to prevent them from enjoying simple public accommodations in the same way that some conservative cake bakers and flower arrangers do.
Conservative critics, unnerved by his honesty, say he’s obviously a lunatic extremist, meaning they are much more measured in their discrimination. Instead of shooting you in the head we’ll just draft bills to ensure you can’t enjoy the same treatment as everyone else, because that’s not hate or discrimination it’s just the law, see?
But the truth is there are countless Christians who openly advocate for the death of gays like this man does; or like the Arizona pastor Steven Anderson who advocates stoning gays to death does; or like the Westboro Baptist Church members who protest the funerals nationwide to harass and stigmatize gay people.
Conservative social activist Scott Lively famously traveled to Uganda to reportedly help them conceptualize and draft the now notorious Kill The Gays Bill. Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage traveled to Russia for a World Congress of Families event in Moscow that was financed by members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. That conference ended with the delegates issuing a resolution calling for more countries around the world to pass discriminatory “gay propaganda” bans like Russia’s. If you join up the dots you can often see the picture.
And the picture that’s emerging from the American hard right now is of men who are increasingly incapable of living in peace with their neighbors and turning to the bible to justify their murderous intent.
As the nation inches toward a Supreme Court ruling in June that could fundamentally enrich the lives and legal equality of gay people (whilst doing no harm to anyone else) our home grown fundamentalists are realizing they will finally have to share the nation with people they are more used to dictating to.
People can laugh at Matt McLaughlin and dismiss him as a wannabe American version of ISIS, but we shouldn’t laugh, because his sentiments are a kind of violence in themselves.
Would his bill have advanced if he was calling for the murder of African Americans or Muslims or Jews? It’s a good question and it’s hard to picture a scenario in which that would have been allowed to occur.
But here we are now looking at it advance without hindrance because McLaughlin’s targets happen to be gay. In 2015 it seems America still can’t decide what really constitutes gay bashing.
We may not have to wait much longer. Poison like the bill that McLaughlin just released sends a profound message to the wider culture. You can oppress this group and they’ll have to take it, his actions prove. Someone will be inspired by that message to stand up in judgment. All the McLaughlins of this world have to do is line up the pins and then stand back as someone else bowls.