This is an article written by Jenna Ellis for the Washington Examiner. At the very core of the legislation about to be approved in the State of California is a means of making the sale of the Bible and advocacy for the teachings of the Bible unlawful within the Borders of the State of California. Remember, Marx told his followers that the glorious state of Marxism can only exist without morals and as an atheist state.
California’s legislature is poised to approve one of the most serious attacks against freedom of speech ever contemplated in U.S. history this week. Assembly Bill 2943 is legislation that would place that state in an Orwellian society by banning books, speech, and commercial services that would (in the state’s subjective view) help or encourage any willing consumer to overcome same-sex desires or gender confusion.
It’s the latest stride for the LGBT agenda to promote their (and only their) message, declaring anyone who might have any other viewpoint or simply desire to learn varying perspectives subject to “unlawful business practice” remedies. In other words, a Christian bookstore could be sued for carrying a book such as Ryan T. Anderson’s latest, When Harry Became Sally, solely because the message is in conflict with the LGBT agenda.
AB 2943 has been shoehorned rapidly through the legislative process in an attempt to give little time for opposition voices to be heard and stop this unconstitutional measure from being passed into law. The bill was approved 8-1 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee (7 Democrats and 1 Republican voting aye; 1 Republican voting no; 1 Republican abstaining) and is now heading to a vote as soon as Monday or early this week, according to California Family Council, which has been closely monitoring this bill.
California Family Council President Jonathan Keller told Washington Examiner, “The State of California has no right to deny its residents the counseling and resources to help them find happiness or to shut down counselors, schools, and religious organizations that provide those services. Every person experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction must be allowed to choose the services and resources to help them achieve their desired goals and outcomes.”
The legislation actually describes speaking favorably for traditional views of sexuality as “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” In the bill, California makes a legislative declaration that “Contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity” and that so-called “change efforts,” including merely speaking a different viewpoint, constitutes unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under the state’s consumer protection laws.
The declaration further states that “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.” Shouldn’t that actually be a statement against viewpoints that seek to enable or persuade people, particularly at-risk categories such as children, from change efforts that differ with their biologically identified gender?
But we live in a country that constitutionally values and protects freedom of speech. This means people like Ryan Anderson, Jonathan Keller, counselors, authors, consumers, and every other person that lives in or does any form of commerce within California has a fundamental right to try to convince you of his or her sincerely held beliefs and encourage you to adopt them as your own. They especially have the right to give you their opinion if you are actually seeking it. The LGBT community and its proponents likewise have that fundamental right to promote their message. The problem here is that the LGBT agenda does not want freedom in exchanging ideas, but rather they want to use the government as a propaganda tool to silence dissenters and banish any content that does not bow to their message.
This is clearly evidenced by the legislative definitions of “sexual orientation change efforts,” which specifically include “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex” (emphasis added).
But what is specifically excluded and still allowed to occur under this legislation? “‘Sexual orientation change efforts’ does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development […]; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.”
In other words, it’s fine to counsel and promote messages encouraging exploration of same-sex attraction, even if the patient came to a therapist with unwanted same-sex attraction. But it’s going to be illegal to help or encourage that person toward their desired goals of reducing same-sex attraction. Thus, this law is not viewpoint neutral and specifically targets psychotherapists, counselors, pastors, lay counselors, authors, speakers, and any other speakers from promoting a message of heterosexuality, and instead allows only a message affirming the LGBT viewpoint.
This is patently unconstitutional, against First Amendment protections, and exceptionally dangerous. If a state government can pick and choose what messages it deems permissible and sanctioned, and which messages it deems impermissible and censored, freedom of speech has been lost for everyone.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp explains the costly implications: “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. As a result, it would 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 a woman.”
ADF also provided a legal memorandum in opposition to AB 2943, along with other reference material opposing the measure from institutions including the National Task force for Therapy Equality, Focus on the Family, American College of Pediatricians, and Family Policy Alliance, among others.
Everyone should be free to promote their message and to also hear out ideas, find therapy, books, and other support to help them achieve their desired goals and outcomes without government interference. This is especially important in the context of a therapist-patient relationship, where the government has no business interfering with the goals set by the patient, as the reference materials indicate and provide support for.
As ADF points out, decades of research on the same-sex attraction issue has failed to locate a specific genetic or biological cause for the development of same-sex attractions and there is no scientific finding that can pinpoint proof someone is homosexual. ADF further notes, “Faith traditions all agree that a person’s identity isn’t about sexual desires, but about the values a person chooses.”
Whether or not you agree with that statement, thankfully our Constitution made it none of California’s business to make that decision for you. Individuals should be free to continue to pursue the therapy options and resources of their choosing, and providers should continue to be free to promote their messages without legislative interference.