A pro-LGBTQ bill is quickly making its way through the California state assembly after it was approved on the floor Thursday. The bill now goes to the state Senate for a vote.
If passed, Assembly Bill 2943 could ultimately threaten free speech and freedom of religion for Christians.
It uses the state’s consumer fraud statute to restrict religious freedom and free speech when it comes to issues of homosexuality and gender identity.
This means the bill would make it illegal to distribute resources, sell books, offer counseling services, or direct someone to a biblically based model for getting help with gender confusion and homosexuality.
Randy Thomasson with SaveCalifornia.com says the bill is very broad and could affect just about anything helping people overcome same-sex desires.
“So, this is a pastor speaking, you pay a ticket to hear him speak. He speaks about overcoming same-sex desires. Hey, that could be outlawed. A church sells a book about overcoming same-sex desires. There’s a sale, there’s a transaction, that could be banned,” Thomasson said.
“This is very expansive, very tyrannical and absolutely squashing free speech, religious freedom and basic choice of people. This is an anti-freedom, anti-American bill,” Thomasson told CBN News.
Essentially, churches and Christian schools that share biblical teaching on the subject would be open to a lawsuit.
CBN News asked Thomasson if this bill could eventually lead to a ban on Bibles or even books from other faiths like the Koran.
“Well, you could see this law going into effect. A church bookstore selling the Bible, of course, selling a book about marriage or sexual purity or overcoming homosexuality or overcoming trans-sexuality. You could see a member of the public or even a member of the state government coming and saying, ‘Hey, that’s illegal,'” Thomasson answered.
“Even the Muslim community should be against this, too, because of what is said about sexual perversity in the Koran,” Thomasson also said.
If AB 2943 clears California’s Senate and is signed into law, it would negatively impact Christian counselors, bookstores, church conferences, as well as medical and health professionals.
The bill also seeks to ban biblically based counseling for those wanting to get help.
It comes six years after California deemed it illegal for minors to receive counseling for same-sex attraction, even if they and their parents wanted help. Now, this bill would also address adults.
“AB 2943 would start by saying, ok, nobody can get counseling to overcome same-sex desires… ok, so no help for adult children, adults who were molested as kids and now they are adults and they say I want help to overcome these feelings. No help for you,” Thomasson explained.
The bill states that “contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.”
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told CBN News that what makes this bill especially dangerous is that California often leads the charge in pushing the LGBTQ legislative agenda.
California was one of the first states to ban “conversion therapy” for minors. Shortly afterward, Oregon, New Jersey, and Vermont passed similar laws.
“People have the right to seek the counsel of their choice, but this bill substitutes the government for personal choice. The implications are staggering, and the result is harmful,” Staver said in a statement to CBN News.
Liberty Counsel further explains, “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.”
“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 if passed. If it does pass, we will immediately file suit,” the religious liberties organization states.