SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California lawmaker who had proposed a bill prohibiting professional therapists from advertising or selling “conversion therapy” services to those seeking to fight homosexual temptation, attaching the prohibition to existing consumer fraud law, has withdrawn the legislation—for now—after speaking with faith leaders in the state.
“I authored Assembly Bill 2943 to ensure a remedy for those who are deceived by this deceptive practice,” Assemblyman Evan Low, D-San Jose, remarked in a statement. “As the bipartisan bill progressed through the legislature this year, opposition began to speak out against the legislation. I knew this was an emotionally charged issue, so I spent the past few months traveling up and down the state meeting with a wide variety of faith leaders.”
“I was heartened by the conversations,” he said. “A number of religious leaders denounced conversion therapy and recognized how harmful the practice is while acknowledging it has been discredited by the medical and psychological communities. I left those productive conversations feeling hopeful.”
As previously reported, Lowe, who identifies as homosexual himself, had presented the legislation earlier this year to ban what the bill called “sexual orientation change efforts” for any age, and specifically prohibit professional therapists from advertising or offering for sale such services.
With the backing of eight Democrats, he 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 claimed.
“California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals,” it stated. “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 defined “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 noted 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.”
Numerous pro-family groups strongly opposed what they dubbed the “must stay gay” measure, stating that it wrongfully stood in the way of those who genuinely want help rejecting homosexual temptation, and forced 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.
“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 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 also opined that if the bill became 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 argued that the bill could also ban books that center on finding freedom from homosexuality or transgenderism, but Low dismissed the characterization.
He said on Friday that he pulled the bill because he believes further discussion is needed, and that he wants to find “common ground” on both sides.
“The best policy is not made in a vacuum and in order to advance the strongest piece of legislation, the bill requires additional time to allow for an inclusive process not hampered by legislative deadlines,” Low outlined in a statement. “With a hopeful eye toward the future, I share with you that, despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate, I will not be sending AB 2943 to the governor this year.”
“I am committed to continuing to work towards creating a policy that best protects and celebrates the identities of LGBT Californians and a model for the nation to look towards,” he continued. “It is my obligation as a legislator to make this difficult decision in the interest of finding common ground. The path towards full equality is a long journey, but a journey best traveled together.”
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.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
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.”