Today, I learned from Martin Longman about some fun goings on in my home state of California, The Sodomite Suppression Act. It seems this lawyer in Huntington Beach, Matt McLaughlin, has filed to get an initiative on the ballot. It apparently involves “authorizes the killing of gays and lesbians by ‘bullets to the head,’ or ‘any other convenient method.'” Unfortunately — and I really mean this — it will never get on the California ballot. He needs to get well over a quarter million signatures. That seems unlikely.
The state of California is not pleased about this. It clearly isn’t a serious initiative, as McLaughlin himself must know, because such a law would be unconstitutional according to the state and the nation. And that’s a valid concern. The truth is that this guy is just wasting government resources to make some kind of a statement. And sadly, it may result in the filing fee for an initiative going up — perhaps way up — from its current cost of $200. I don’t like that idea, but it isn’t my main interest in this case.
I would be fascinated to see just how many of my fellow “liberal” Californians would vote for this “bullets to the head” law. I have no doubt that it would go down to a solid defeat. But I wonder if it might get as many as 30% of the vote. Or higher! Maybe I’m just cynical, but I’d like to know. In a lot of ways, there is too much political correctness. But when people enter that voting booth, they are all alone and they can have their bigoted say. I’d really like to know just where the rest of my state stands.
It’s possible, of course, that the proposition would go down to a stunning defeat with 5% — which could be written off to kooks and people who don’t know how to fill out a ballot. That would be truly awesome. It would make me proud to be a Californian. As it is, I don’t usually think of myself as a Californian. I think of myself as a left coaster. I’m a Bay Area boy and so I feel connected to Portland and Seattle, but not to Los Angeles. It isn’t that I don’t like southern California, but it is certainly a different culture. And it is distinctly more conservative. And let’s not even talk about the valley and the less populated parts of the state that are like something out of Deliverance (but with more money).
But if it came to a vote, I doubt it would be an occasion to feel proud. The initiative would probably end up with something like 20% of the vote. That would be lower than the level that would be horribly embarrassing, but certainly nothing to take pride in. And that would be high enough that some districts would have passed it. Regardless, I think it is good to know what people are really thinking. When it comes to LGBT rights, we are pretty much at the point where people know it isn’t cool to use certain words and talk too negatively. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a lot of fear and hatred. Now that I think about it, maybe we should put slavery for African Americans on the ballot. That might tells us something that many people want to ignore.