The California Senate has passed AB 2943, a bill that in the name of stopping fraudulent business practices bans the sale of goods and services aimed at helping homosexuals to stop engaging in homosexual practices:
he California Senate voted Thursday to approve the nation’s broadest proposed ban on treatment for overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions.
The vote on Assembly Bill 2943 was 25-11, the Washington Blade reports. The bill forbids minors and adults alike from obtaining “sexual orientation change efforts,” regardless of their wishes. By classifying what leftists pejoratively call “conversion therapy” (also known as reparative therapy) under prohibited “goods,” critics say it would go so far as to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of constitutionally-protected speech.
The Assembly voted 50-14 to pass AB 2943 in April, but its Senate vote was delayed until after the summer recess following a deluge of phone calls from disapproving constituents and a fierce public backlash from churches and other religious groups.
Bill sponsor and Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low reportedly considered amending it into a more palatable form, but Courthouse News reports that the state Assembly only needs to vote on procedural amendments before sending the final version to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The California Family Council blasted the “shameful” vote as an attempt to “shut down counselors, schools, and religious organizations who provide resources and services,” and called on its members to “flood” the offices of thirteen Assembly members with phone calls urging them to vote “no” prior to the final vote. The Assembly could vote as early as Monday, August 20, and has until August 31 to pass the final bill.
“This bill does not prohibit the sale of the Bible—that’s an argument that we’ve heard—that’s untrue,” state Sen. Scott Wiener, an openly homosexual Democrat, claimed. “It does not in any way prohibit free speech. It doesn’t prohibit anyone from speaking with a counselor, including a religious counselor regarding their sexual orientation, as long as no money is exchanged, as long as no services are sold.”
Conservative legal analysts maintain those possibilities are very real, however.
“At its core, AB 2943 outlaws speech,” concludes the religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “It says that licensed counseling, religious conferences, book sales, and paid speaking engagements could all potentially face legal penalties for promoting ways to reverse unwanted attractions or for expressing traditional Christian teachings on sexuality.”
ADF adds that the section of the state’s civil code on “deceptive acts or practices” expressly “commands that it be ‘liberally construed and applied,’ Cal. Civil Code § 1760, resulting in prohibitions against [sexual orientation change efforts] potentially being applied beyond the confines of a traditional counseling relationship to many other constitutionally protected activities.”
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids laws “abridging the freedom of speech” or “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. The California Constitution affirms that “[e]very person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects,” and that “[f]ree exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed.”
As for the bill’s policy ramifications, many former homosexuals such as Angel Colon, Drew Berryessa, and David Pickup attest to reparative therapy’s success in improving their lives, and want Californians currently struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to have access to the same help overcoming it.
“As California appears poised to pass a draconian bill that directly attacks your religious freedoms, it’s time for you to draw a line in the sand,” Michael Brown declared Friday in an op-ed for the Christian Post. “If the bill passes, you must choose to obey God rather than man. It’s time for civil disobedience.”
Brown predicted that defiantly practicing their faith could get Christians arrested, but that AB 2943 would ultimately be overturned either by the Supreme Court or public disapproval. “Let’s make a solemn determination: No earthly power will stop me from loving my neighbor as myself,” he said.
The Democratic Gov. Brown signed a more limited conversion therapy ban for minors in 2012, and is expected to sign AP 2943. If the bill becomes law, liberty groups plan to challenge it on constitutional grounds. (source)
The full text of the law is here.
It is true that the bill does not use the word “books”, nor does it say that “books” are banned. As the law notes:
Existing law, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, makes unlawful certain unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result, or which results, in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer. Existing law authorizes any consumer who suffers damages as a result of these unlawful practices to bring an action against that person to recover damages, among other things.
Existing law prohibits mental health providers, as defined, from performing sexual orientation change efforts, as specified, with a patient under 18 years of age. Existing law requires a violation of this provision to be considered unprofessional conduct and subjects the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.
This bill would include, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts with efforts, as defined, to an individual. The bill would also declare the intent of the Legislature in this regard. (source)
This bill is written in a highly ambiguous way and broadly interpretable way so that, when applied in a legal setting can potentially include not just “gay conversion therapy” but any books, services, conferences, media, or other information meant to target homosexuality in general. Indeed, as the Bible is truly among its many uses a book of divine guidance for helping men to life a life in accordance with the will of God, it could be argued in court that the Bible is an “instruction manual” that opposes the LGBT and therefore can be banned under this law.
America will probably not directly “ban the Bible,” because it would be too obvious. Instead, it would have to be banned in a manner using a series of seemingly indirect legal justification aimed at enforcing a series of other laws or practices that all society accepts without discrimination. This is clearly the case with the LGBT, for in the name of stopping “discrimination”, and given that a super majority of Americans support homosexuality, the justification presented would be that broadly banning all books and services that would discriminate against homosexuality – which just could “happen” to include the Bible -it is the best way to ensure the “rights” of all Americans.
It is a very insidious way of operating, because the principle is to exploit the good and genuine intentions of people by making them believe that they are serving one cause when the reality is they are supporting another. This is not to say that the LGBT is a good cause, but to say that the cause presented is not the actual cause being promulgated.
What this case does do is to advance the LGBT in the public sphere while also finding a way to build a legal structure to attack and suppress Christianity in the name of following the “law”, which is the largest single ideological hindrance to the advancement of the LGBT.
Welcome to California in 2018.