Suppress the Sodomite Suppression Act

Jacqueline Lewis takes a closer look at the controversial Sodomite Suppression Act and how it reflects badly on Christians.

Jacqueline Lewis, Writer

On the 26th of February this year, a Huntington Beach attorney named Matt McLaughlin submitted a radical ballot initiative for California titled the Sodomite Suppression Act, also known as “Shoot the Gays.” This proposed initiative states that “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.” In the initiative, McLaughlin explains his reasoning by claiming “it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst.” This proposed ballot initiative would not only criminalize any homosexual activity, but it would also criminalize the distribution, performance and transmittance what he defines as “sodomite propaganda” with a sentence of either a $1 million fine or 10 years of imprisonment.


In response to the Sodomite Suppression Act, Joe Decker filed a parody initiative, called the Shellfish Suppression Act, that would ban the sale and consumption of shellfish, and violators would receive either a $666 thousand fine or six years, six months and six days of imprisonment. This refers to the commonly used argument against Christians who hold to traditional marriage that equalizes the ceremonial condemnation of eating shellfish and the law forbidding homosexual activity in the Old Testament.

Although the Sodomite Suppression Act clearly steps far beyond the boundaries of decency and constitutionality, and the Shellfish Suppression Act remains equally ridiculous, though less offensive, both raise some question regarding the California initiative process. These particular proposals will almost definitely not receive the nearly 400,000 signatures required for addition to the ballot for the public to vote into law, but this leads the Attorney General and other government officials involved in the law making and enforcing processes to ask how they could stop such an initiative from being passed or enforced.

For example, the California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris described the Sodomite Suppression Act as reprehensible and as having no place in civil society. She seeks relief from her duties as attorney general to give the proposal a title and summary, but none currently exists in the system to stop a clearly unconstitutional ballot initiative from being processed. Perhaps the state must ask itself if the initiative process could be reformed in a way that does not diminish the power of the people, but also keeps unconstitutional initiatives off the attorney general’s desk.


As extremist initiatives like the Sodomite Suppression Act find themselves in Sacramento, Christians should realize many Californians view Christian communities as possessing this type of extremism because they often only see this type of representation in the media. Regardless of the individual’s stance on gay marriage, the Church must do a better job of publicly condemning this brand of hatred and promotion of violence. Rather than staying silent on such an egregious attitude, the Church must speak out against this in a biblically grounded manner to allow Christians to better represent Christ to the world.

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