Ideas have consequences – and so do laws.
In its zeal to ensure that no transgender person in California is ever confronted by any expression that might not entirely affirm that person’s feeling, the state is set to ban all psychological or spiritual counseling contrary to a person’s claimed sexual orientation as well as the sale of any merchandise – presumably including books – that might offer a different point of view.
Obviously, that could very well include the Bible, which does not recognize more than two sexual identities – male and female.
Is it a stretch to say that AB 2943 could result in a ban of the Bibles and books that do not affirm transgenderism?
Not at all.
The bill explicitly prohibits the sale of printed materials that do just that.
The bill, which has been approved in the state Assembly and heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass overwhelmingly, states: “Courts, including in California, have recognized the practice of sexual orientation change efforts as a commercial service. Therefore, claims that sexual orientation change efforts are effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation, may constitute unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under state consumer protection laws. This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. 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.”
Liberty Counsel, which fights in courts to preserve religious freedom, says the legislation “is so far reaching that it also prohibits printed materials and even books.”
That is not an exaggeration.
While the intent of the bill is to affirm the state’s aversion to so-called “conversion therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts,” by adding it to the list of fraudulent schemes under California’s “Consumer Legal Remedies Act,” it is so broadly written it could certainly be used to challenge the sale of books, periodicals and even the Bible that all offer different perspectives than the state’s official position.
The bill declares “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” is fraudulent business practice.
“If approved, victims of sexual abuse can no longer get counseling if they develop (as often happens) unwanted urges to engage in same-sex behavior or become gender confused,” Liberty Counsel said in a statement. “This bill would also make it unlawful for any person to sell books, including the Bible, counseling services, or anything else that directs people to trust in Jesus Christ to help them overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.”
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a pro-family group, asked: “How can any legislator voting for this call themselves pro-choice when they’ve voted to wipe out a person’s own choice of a counselor? How can any legislator voting for AB 2943 say they support religious freedom when they’ve just threatened church bookstores that sell self-help books about overcoming unwanted same-sex desires? AB 2943 is anti-free-speech, anti-religious-freedom, anti-free-choice, and has no place in a free society. This intolerant bill contains no exemption and no protection at all for religious entities.”
“The implications of California AB 2943 reach far beyond regulating the type of counseling offered by licensed therapists,” said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s chief counsel. “This bill is unconstitutional as it substitutes the government for personal choice and is a shocking assault on free speech. Imagine a church not allowed to sell Christian books, or even Bibles, that help people overcome same-sex attractions. This bill will do the unimaginable is passed. If it does pass, we will immediately file suit.”
It’s just another lurch toward leftist totalitarianism in the Golden State.