Closed minds threaten LGBTQ community again

Illustration by Trevor Moore

So it looks like I may end up being a criminal again. The California Office of the Attorney General has received a proposed initiative that could make that happen.

Matt McLaughlin, a southern California lawyer according to the state Bar Association, submitted the initiative titled “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Currently the proposed initiative is not viewable on the Department of Justice website. An inquiry to the Department of Justice regarding the proposed initiative has not be responded to by the time of publication.

However, it is the intent behind the initiative that concerns me. Wording found on other reporting sites noted “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.” – Section 39 (b)

So it would be the death penalty for every gay, lesbian or bisexual person who choses consensual sexual contact.

But don’t think that straight allies are off the hook either.

Section 39, subsection (c) states that anyone who gives “sodomite propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority” will be subject to a fine of “$1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to ten years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.”

There are, of course, prohibitions against sodomites in public service or employment or those that “espouse sodomite propaganda.” – Section 39 (d) This section includes any member of Chico State’s faculty, staff, management or administration, or state-side student employees.

To be honest I know that the odds that this proposal will get the requisite signatures to make the ballot are slim, that it would be passed by the people of the state probably even slimmer and that it’s life expectancy under a challenge in court even smaller.

It’s the ideology behind it that scares me.

Like other minorities LGBTQ people have had to fight for many rights, from the right to live to the right to marry partners.

In 1958 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a non-erotic gay magazine’s right to be mailed to subscribers. It was judged by the post master to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy” and thus couldn’t be sent through the mail.

While this may seem to be ridiculous to people in 2015 remember that sexual activity between two people of the same sex, even behind closed doors, was illegal until June 26, 2003.

I don’t resent other people’s freedom of speech, press or expression, except when it serves to make the life I try to live authentically a criminal one.

Joseph Rogers can be reached at [email protected] or @JosephLRogers1 on Twitter.