SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Senate has advanced a bill that prohibits professional therapists and counselors from advertising or selling services that would offer help to those seeking to fight homosexual temptation, attaching the prohibition to existing consumer fraud law.
The controversial A.B. 2943 passed the Senate 25-11 on Thursday, a bill that prohibits “[a]dvertising, offering for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts to an individual.”
As previously reported, California passed legislation in 2012 that prohibits what is commonly referred to as “conversion therapy” for minors, resulting in a lawsuit from several youth who had been obtaining counseling and found it to be beneficial, as well as the National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Christian Counseling Association (AACC).
Courts have thus far upheld the law, finding that lammakers had a legitimate reason to impose the restrictions, as they had reached a consensus that such therapy is harmful to youth and ineffective.
Now, lawmakers have taken the prohibition one step further, banning what it calls “sexual orientation change efforts” for any age, and specifically prohibiting professional therapists from advertising or offering for sale such services. Eight Democrats attached the prohibition to California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which outlaws deceptive practices in business transactions.
“Contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness,” the bill claims.
“California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals,” it states. “California has a compelling interest in protecting consumers from false and deceptive practices that claim to change sexual orientation and in protecting consumers against exposure to serious harm caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
The legislation defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as any practice that would seek “to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” It notes that the ban does not apply to psychotherapists who “provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.”
Pro-family groups have strongly opposed what they have dubbed the “must stay gay” measure, stating that it wrongfully stands in the way of those who genuinely want help rejecting homosexual temptation, and forces licensed therapists to side with the government’s point of view since they can’t tell prospective clients that there is freedom from homosexuality whether in advertising or in person.
“Politicians have no business telling people that their counseling goals are illegal,” the California Family Policy Council states on its website. “[This bill] uses threats of lawsuits and punitive damages under the consumer protection act to punish speaking of views the government doesn’t like.”
“Wrapped in the opaque cloak of ‘science’ and ‘fraud,’ A.B. 2943 is little more than a transparent step toward state approval of favored ideas and the concurrent active suppression of any divergent worldviews or dissent regarding controversial and debatable sexual and moral issues,” the National Center for Law and Policy also lamented in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year.
“A.B. 2943 essentially outlaws the Judeo-Christian worldview regarding sexual ethics, affirming the transformative replacement ‘anything goes’ secular worldview of the sexual revolution, also known as radical sexual liberty,” it stated.
The Pacific Justice Institute further opines that if the bill becomes law, therapists would be able to offer help if a spouse is involved in an opposite-sex affair, but not if the marriage has been affected by an affair with the same sex.
“Persons in such situations may not wish to seek counsel that ‘provides acceptance, support, understanding and identity exploration of their sexual orientation.’ Indeed they may want help to ‘change behaviors, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex,'” it said in a letter to the Senate. “A.B. 2943 lacks even a rational basis if an individual can seek counsel with help for straight, but not gay, affairs.”
Some have argued that the bill could also ban books that center on finding freedom from homosexuality or transgenderism, but lawmakers dismiss the characterization.
A.B. 2943 now moves to the Assembly for final approval, and then to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. The site SaveCalifornia.com has asked residents to contact their assemblyman and the governor to urge rejection of the measure.
As previously reported, the Scriptures teach that all men are born with the Adamic sin nature, and have various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, being utterly incapable of changing themselves. It is why Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, or they cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” he declared. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15-17 also teaches, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. … Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”