The chair of the California LGBT Caucus recently introduced a bill to outlaw Christians and others with a Biblical view of sexuality from helping people with unwanted same-sex desires or gender identity confusion. Assemblyman Evan Low’s bill, AB 2943 , declares “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” as illegal under state’s consumer fraud law.
The implications of this legislation spread far beyond regulating the type of counseling offered by licensed counselors, who are already banned from helping minors with unwanted same-sex attractions. Several legal experts have confirmed that this bill targets the ability of religious non-profits, churches, and pastors from teaching and practicing their faith regarding sexual orientation and gender.
“The language used in this bill casts a wide net calculated to entangle religious institutions and ministers,” said Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel Pacific Justice Institute. “Any exchange of money for goods or services that provide a biblical perspective on the power of the Gospel to deliver from certain types of sexual sin springs the law and entraps the ministry.”
The bill would also ban books from being sold in California that tell people to trust in the power of Jesus Christ and His Gospel to help them change their same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“California AB 2943 makes it unlawful for any person to sell books, counseling services, or anything else that helps someone overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion,” said ADF Attorney Matt Sharp. “As a result, it could be a violation if a pastor encourages a congregant to visit the church book store to purchase books that help people address sexual issues, perhaps including the Bible itself, which teaches about the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.” (Read complete ADF bill analysis here)
Alliance Defending Freedom is so concerned about this bill, that they flew Sharp out to California’s capitol last Friday for television and radio interviews, and to speak to legislative offices, warning them about the implications of this bill.
Joining him were several psychologists and a medical doctor who told legislative staff how this bill would prevent them from providing services to clients seeking their help.
One of those psychologists, Christopher Rosik, Ph.D., works with the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, an organization dedicated to preserving the right of individuals to obtain the services of a therapist to help them with unwanted same-sex attractions. He presented California legislative offices with a journal article he authored rebutting critics who use “incomplete and dishonest presentation of the scientific record” to discredit this type of therapy. The article also corrects the “false caricatures of licensed therapists who do this work.”
“The professional associations are making moral and philosophical statements here, not
scientific ones,” Rosik stated, explaining why many profession associations oppose counseling to change sexual orientation. “They are blurring the line between science and scientism. Science is simply a methodology, a way of discerning what “is” through empirical research and replication. Scientism is a form of worldview, structured not unlike a religious belief system, which brings certain values and beliefs to the scientific endeavor, and this in turn impacts how findings are interpreted.”
Then Laura Haynes, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and Chair of Research and Legislative Policy for the National Task Force for Therapy Equality also defended sexual orientation and gender identity therapy. She presented legislative staff with evidence right out of the APA (American Psychological Association) Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology that states that sexual and gender variations are not simply biologically determined, and can be influenced by sexual abuse.
According to Haynes, if AB 2943 is approved, victims of sexual abuse can no longer get counseling for “unwanted emotional and sexual ties to their abuser” if their abuser is the same sex as the victim. Ironically if the abuser is the opposite sex, the victim can get counseling. In the same way men who struggle with desires to have sex with little boys, won’t be allowed to get counseling to change these unwanted desires, but they can if they are attracted to little girls.
“Our clients have the same freedom and the right as everyone else to resolve unwanted feelings, love who they want, and choose their gender identity. No one should take that away from them,” Haynes stated in her fact sheet titled, “What Happens When Therapy is Banned?” “Some want to live and love according to their religious faith. No one should deny them that right.”
AB 2943 has been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. Please call the legislative members of this committee found here, and politely express your opposition to AB 2943. Tell them that everyone should have the right to live and to love according to their religious faith. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m on April 3.
Also call the offices of legislators sponsoring this bill, all of which are part of California’s LGBT Caucus, and give them the same message. Freedom and tolerance should be a two way street.
Assemblymember Evan Low – 28th Assembly District: Capitol # (916) 319-2028
Senator Ricardo Lara – 33rd Senate District: Capitol # (916) 651-4033
Senator Toni G. Atkins – 39th Senate District: Capitol # (916) 651-4039
Senator Scott Wiener – 11th Senate District: Capitol # (916) 651-4011
Senator Cathleen Galgiani – 5th Senate District: Capitol # (916) 651-4005
Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes – 60th Assembly District: Capitol # (916) 319-2060
Assemblymember Susan Eggman – 13th Assembly District: Capitol # (916) 319-2013
Assemblymember Todd Gloria – 78th Assembly District: Capitol # (916) 319-2078