SACRAMENTO, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Eight former homosexuals and transgender individuals are fighting a California bill that would ban reparative therapy for same-sex attracted adults.
Assembly Bill 2943 is a proposed amendment to the state consumer code that would criminalize "sexual orientation change efforts," including the selling of books and the offering of counseling services that help someone overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion.
The measure passed the California Assembly 50–18 last month and has moved to the Senate where it was referred to the Committees on Judiciary and Appropriations on May 3.
But a video has been released that presents contrary evidence to the narrative that gays are "born that way" and "can't change." Eight individuals are claiming they have overcome same-sex attraction through counseling and healing through Jesus Christ.
One woman in the video, Elizabeth Woning, said, "I picked up a Bible, highlighting every passage about an amazing God that was so beautiful and excellent in every way." After growing in her faith life, she began having affections for a man. Now, she is has been married for 13 years.
The video debunks the bill's language defining counseling to rid unwanted same-sex attractions as "consumer fraud."
Tony Perkins' Family Research Council acknowledges that "the movement by LGBT activists to abolish the practice of 'sexual orientation efforts' [including reparative therapy] has gotten a big boost with the push to pass California's AB 2943" which "would ban it for any client or any type of counselor (including a religious one) if there's any exchange of money."
Christians have said that the bill could be interpreted to include the banning of any book that promotes the biblical view of human sexuality, including the Bible.
Past Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a devout Christian, noted that California is "bracing for one of the most dramatic ideological shifts away from the First Amendment in our nation's history" since the measure "destroys the foundations of liberty and a free society."
"This is a massive attack on Christianity. It should alarm us that the constitutional problems inherent in the bill were not obvious to those in the California Assembly," he insisted. "This means the sale of any book that states the practice of homosexuality or transgender identification as immoral actions would be illegal in California. … This could include the Bible!"
Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries, a Colorado-based Christian group that provides students with "an intelligent, defensible Christian worldview before they go to college" called the California bill "a dog whistle to the [L]eft that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits."
Summit Ministries has canceled its June 10–23 and June 24–July 7 sessions at Biola University near Los Angeles owing to "concerns that California will forbid some of what it teaches."
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) listed examples in its analysis of activities the bill would outlaw:
A bookstore (including online bookstores like Amazon) could not sell many recently published books challenging gender identity ideology and advocating that these beliefs should be rejected by society; and [a] pastor paid to speak at an event addressing current social topics could not encourage attendees that they can prevail over same-sex desires or feelings that they were born the wrong sex.
"At its core, AB 2943 outlaws speech, whether offered by a licensed counselor, a best-selling author, or even a minister or religious leader," continues ADF's analysis. The measure "labels such faith-driven activity as fraudulent and deceptive practices, subjecting anyone who engages in them to ruinous lawsuits, punitive damages and attorneys' fees."
Longtime New Testament professor Robert A.J. Gagnon, the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice, wrote in The Federalist last month that there is "nothing in the bill that exempts such practices from prosecution by the state. We have learned on LGBTQ matters what is exempted is not exempted for long and what is not exempted has no exemption."
"Consequently, selling religious or secular books (pamphlets, videos, audios, etc.), holding conferences, teaching courses in a college or seminary where tuition is paid, giving a speech at a paid venue, counseling people for a fee, or perhaps even posting online articles in a site that requires a paid subscription" that attest "it is morally wrong for people to engage in homosexual practice or identify as 'gay' or 'transgender,' all could be treated as a violation of California Assembly Bill 2943," continued Gagnon.
The late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a Catholic pioneer in reparative therapy, showed that it helped reduce stress and improve emotional and physical well-being.
"Homosexuality is not about sex," Nicolosi emphasized. "It is about a person's sense of himself, about his relationships, how he forms and establishes relationships, his self-identity, his self-image, personal shame, his ability to sustain intimacy."