California Delays Vote on Bill Outlawing 'Gay Conversion Therapy' After Public Outcry


The California state Senate has delayed a vote on a controversial bill that would make it illegal to sell services or materials related to sexual orientation “conversion therapy.”

Assembly Bill 2943 easily passed the Democrat-controlled House in April.

The bill would make it an unlawful business practice to engage in any “transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” aimed at “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

Goods would include any books or written materials, while services would encompass counseling individuals seeking to address same-sex attractions.

The Christian Post reported Wednesday that public outcry against the bill is the reason consideration of it has been delayed until early August, when the Senate reconvenes.

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“This has been one of the most controversial bills that we’ve seen in California in the five years I’ve been at California Family Council,” said Jonathan Keller, the organization’s president, in an interview this week with OneNewsNow.

“We’ve had national organizations — Focus on the Family, Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Radio — tons of people all across the country that realize this is a blatant attack on the First Amendment, on free speech, on the free exercise of religion,” he said.

The Christian Post reported that Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low, who sponsored the legislation, wants to meet with representatives from churches whose pastors and lay leaders oppose the bill.

According to a Los Angeles Times report in April, “One key part of the debate centers on whether Assembly Bill 2943 would stretch beyond businesses that charge for (conversion) programs and extend to printed documents, even Bibles.”

Do you think this bill is unconstitutional?

Those opposed to the bill point to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra in June to support their position that AB 2943 would result in an unconstitutional suppression of free speech. The ruling struck down a California law that required pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion services.

Randy Thomasson with told CBN News in April that the bill’s actual language is very broad and can easily be brought to bear on Christian ministries.

“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,” he added.

Ken Williams, who co-leads Equipped to Love, a ministry based in Redding, California, aimed at helping people abandon homosexuality, said the support and attention the cause has gotten has given him hope.

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“We are very encouraged, and we need to still be praying that the bill is defeated,” he said in a Facebook Live video this week from the steps of the state capitol in Sacramento.

“(T)here are so many great things happening. People are standing up and sharing their stories that [they] never have before that they’ve experienced transformation in their identities because of their relationship with God.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith