California state senators on July 2 introduced a bill that would prohibit the teaching of a Biblical view of sexual orientation. Assembly Bill 2943 would amend the state’s list of unlawful business practices to include “advertising, offering for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts.”
The measure could shut down counseling, conferences, and church or parachurch events that involve any kind of monetary transaction and encourage people to hold to a Biblical view of sexuality. It would also ban the selling of books that teach the same.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of WORLD News Group’s board of directors, called the bill “an undeniable infringement of religious liberty,” and Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that defends First Amendment liberties, wrote that “the breadth of this censorship is staggering.”
Evan Low, head of the California General Assembly’s LGBT caucus, wrote the bill with seven other Democrats. In a speech to the assembly, he shared his experience of depression and so-called conversion therapy as a teenager. “There’s nothing wrong with me,” Low said. “There’s nothing that needs to be changed.”
Others, like Jim Domen, a pastor and the founder of Church United who was formerly gay, opposed the bill and testified that therapies the bill would ban have helped them personally. And organizations like SaveCalifornia.com are urging state residents to call their state senator and governor and express opposition to the bill.
The California General Assembly passed the bill 50-18 with bipartisan support on April 19. But the California Senate cannot vote on the bill until it returns from summer recess on Aug. 6. If successful there, the bill will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. The Democratic governor has previously supported LGBT-sponsored legislation. —Charissa Crotts