Could a California bill ban Christian teaching on homosexuality?

Sacramento, Calif., Apr 22, 2018 / 04:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A proposed law in California could have a chilling effect on free speech, warn critics who fear that it could ban efforts to explain and promote Christian teaching on sexual morality.

“The broad reach of AB 2942 leaves even simple religious speech on same-sex attraction or activities open to legal action and impinges on the basic human right of freedom of religion,” said the California Catholic Conference in a statement.

Assembly Bill 2943, which passed through the California State Assembly on Thursday, would make any transaction relating to practice to change someone’s sexual orientation unlawful. The bill now will go to the California State Senate.

AB 2943 seeks to amend the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CRLA), a law that protects consumers from sellers who are mischaracterizing their product or service.

The bill would ban advertising or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts. It defines such efforts as “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.”

The inclusion of “efforts to change behaviors” as a banned activity has led some critics to fear that the bill could be used to prohibit the promotion of Christian sexual morality – through books, counseling, or teaching.

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has voiced opposition to the bill, and released a letter on its website urging Californians to contact their legislators to prevent it from becoming law.

The conference is concerned that the bill’s definitions are too broad, and seek to prevent adults from making decisions for themselves.

“AB 2943 would take something completely intangible – ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ – and add it to the CRLA,” the conference said.

Further, given that conversion therapy is already illegal for people under the age of 18 in the state, the California Catholic Conference questioned, “why would proponents wish to take away the freedom of adults to seek counselling” for issues regarding sexual orientation or behavior.

These concerns were echoed by Bill May of the Marriage Reality Movement, who told CNA that he feels the bill is “absurd” and inhibits the ability of people spreading “the Gospel’s universal call for repentance and changes in behavior.” May believes that if the bill were to become law, it could result in legal issues for preachers who discuss sexuality.

“Passage would lead to more harassment and possible legal challenges against preaching, literature, conferences and organizations that address sexual morality,” said May.

 

6 Comments

  1. Maybe Rome will proclaim loudly that the epistle to the Romans is inspired by God and condemns gay acts in 1:26-27 but that would mean implicitly backing Romans 13:4 which supports the death penalty. Do you see how Popes in their non infallible capacity have paved the way for scripture to be secondary and ignored….by legislators who can point to them ignoring parts of it themselves in a similar manner on a very different issue. Karma. When you give a dance, you have to pay the band.

  2. So, you are allowed to brainwash young elementary students in schools, that they can choose their own gender. by Using your methods of persuasion to change their sexual orientation. And the parents now have no way to combat that???

  3. Rather that listening to fearmongering you can read the bill itself. It’s under the consumer protection act.
    It’s designed to stop companies from advertising that they can sucessfully turn gay people straight. There is nothing
    prohibiting such therapy if a counselor or religious advisor suggests it, and in no way could a state possibly outlaw or
    prohibit any religious teaching. The reason the Catholic bishops in California have not spoken out against Assembly Bill
    AB 2943 is because it doesn’t do any of the things that these many misleading reports claim, like preventing Catholics from
    teaching Catechism. What should be worrysome is the efforts that are made to spread false information and get people upset over
    things that are not even true.

    From AB 2943

    This bill would include, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts with efforts, as defined, to an individual. The bill would also declare the intent of the Legislature in this regard.

    The entire bill

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2943

    • The bill was analyzed for CWR by Robert Gagnon in this April 15, 2018 article. The bill is linked and quoted; it is fairly obvious that the bill is broad and ambiguous in serious ways, allowing for the sort of judicial activism that has become all too common in recent decades.

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