Community leaders respond to controversial proposal allowing execution of gays and lesbians

The chances are slim that Orange County attorney Matthew Gregory McLaughlin's proposal to make it legal to execute gays and lesbians will appear on the ballot in California. Still, the measure has some concerned.

"It's terrifying and almost laughable in the same breath," said Donald Bentz, executive director for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

Bentz worries the measure could actually come before voters.

"It's a little scary that that actually could happen and if it does get to the ballot, the firestorm that this is going to create and the hate crimes that could result from that," he said.

Last week, a group of state lawmakers filed a complaint against the proponent. The legislature's LGBT Caucus is asking the state bar to review McLaughlin's membership for violating a "good moral character" clause.

But legal experts don't see the state bar stepping in.

"I think that's problematic under the First Amendment because he's not acting as a lawyer when he's submitting these proposals, he's acting as a citizen," said Vikram Amar, a professor of law at UC Davis.

Amar added that he's confident the proposal would not become law.

"Something like this will ultimately never become law because it blatantly violates the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution," Amar said. "There's no question this is not even going to be a real thing, but the question is at what point do you put an end to it."

The state attorney general's office said it's reviewing the proposal. According to Amar, the attorney general would need to file a lawsuit to stop the proposal and get the courts to support her on grounds that the measure violates the Constitution.

If the attorney general's office approves the proposal, more than 300,000 valid signatures would need to be collected on petitions before it would be placed on the ballot.


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