In a surprising move, a California legislator announced that he is dropping his efforts to have certain types of LGBT-related counseling declared “fraudulent” and “deceptive.”
Assembly Member Evan Low released a statement on his website to announce that, after meeting with numerous religious leaders who were concerned about the bill, he will re-work the legislation for a future legislative session.
Today is the last day of the year for the Legislature to give final approval to bills and send them to Gov. Jerry Brown. Throughout the process, the Legislature heard from Pacific Justice Institute and countless others explaining the bill’s unconstitutionality. Among other things, the bill called into question whether core religious doctrines such as sin, repentance, and spiritual transformation would be deemed fraudulent in the counseling context by the State.
The legislation declared that same-sex attraction and sexual orientation are normal, and any efforts to change them are “deceptive” and “fraudulent.” Earlier this summer, in a case in which PJI was involved, the U.S. Supreme Court disapproved the leading precedent from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on which AB 2943 relied.
Brad Dacus, president of PJI, commented, “We are immensely relieved that this latest threat to religious freedom in California has been taken away for at least this year. This should be a great encouragement to the faith community in California that active engagement with lawmakers can still make a difference. We will continue to be vigilant in battling similar legislation to ensure that the First Amendment remains robust.”
Some legislators expressed that they received more calls about AB 2943 than any other bill in the Legislature this year, and some staffers stated that they had never seen anything like the hundreds of people who came to committee hearings at the Capitol to speak against the bill.