Monday, July 2, 2018

Getting up to date on California AB-2943

Kris Olsen
Former pro-golfer and current crackpot Kris Olsen is an advocate of Pray-Away-The-Gay “therapy.”
If California Assembly Bill 2943 is enacted, the measure will cause conversion therapy to be treated as consumer fraud. A New Jersey jury returned that very result when JONAH was sued by former clients with the assistance of Southern Poverty Law Center in 2015.

The last time I wrote about AB-2943 was on May 22. Since then there have been some important developments.

On May 31, the California Senate modified the bill to clarify the prohibited activity:
Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts with to an individual.
Presumably that eliminates people claiming that the measure bans the Bible. It never did but the Senate made it clearer, even for religious conservatives. As you will see they did not all get the message.

On June 12, the measure cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5-2. Judiciary sent the bill to Appropriations which is the final hurdle before a Senate vote (the Assembly passed the bill on April 19 by a vote of 50-18 with 10 not voting). A vote should take place in August before the legislature goes into recess for four months.

Appropriations was supposed to hear the matter on June 25 but that was rescheduled to today, Monday, according to CBN News (which I have been unable to confirm pending some email).

Also, according to CBN:
Critics are concerned the law 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.
They know perfectly well that freedom of religion does not license consumer fraud. The United States Supreme Court has refused to consider this matter.

Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown were consolidated at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld California's law banning child conversion therapy. The Supreme Court  declined in May of 2017 to hear a further appeal. Amusingly there was one amicus brief before the Supreme Court. It was disjointed nuttiness from none other than Peter LaBarbera's little hate group. It wasn't terribly persuasive.

Could the Court revisit the matter if a new case is litigated? Sure. Is it likely? No. They seemingly have more important matters to fret over. CBN continues and we are back to banning books:
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.
Nonsense! The only thing covered is the sale of services. Books are not a service and biblical counseling is usually not a commercial service where money changes hands. This will be California law and since the Ninth Circuit has ruled previously, no court is likely to issue an injunction to prevent enforcement.
"No matter what logic or evidence is told them, the Democrats who control this committee are highly likely to pass and advance AB 2943 to the Senate floor, since there are five Democrats and only two Republicans on this committee," [Randy] Thomasson told CBN News. "No Democrat has opposed it so far, and two of the committee's Democrats are AB 2943 coauthors."
It is amusing that Randy Thomasson would cite logic and evidence considering the fact that there is no evidence that conversion therapy is either safe or effective. Supporting a commercial transaction for which there is no supporting evidence of benefit derived is not very logical. In the Assembly, two Republicans voted in favor. Five did not vote.
"AB2943 violates my right to choose," said Kris Olsen, a pro golfer and former lesbian who was helped by the counseling services this bill would ban. "It is a blatant violation of my First Amendment rights and I believe there's a reason why our Founding Fathers chose to put these rights in the very first amendment."
All of a sudden Christians are “pro-choice.” Olsen is an advocate of pray-away-the-gay. She is free to provide that counseling as long as she doesn't charge for it. Olsen claims to have been “ministering” to LGBT people for 12 years. Rather than complain, she should offer an opportunity for a disinterested scientist to study her records. It can be done without compromising confidentiality. For some reason advocates of conversion therapy never seem to be interested in providing evidence. According to Olsen:
I think it reflects the heart of Jesus when we care about people without judgment, interruption, or interpretation, but we let the Holy Spirit speak healing and comfort, truth, and restoration of things lost into the soul of a man or woman.
“Without judgment” includes referring to gay and transgender people as a lifestyle.

Enter Mad Mat Staver:
If the bill is made law, the Liberty Counsel will file a lawsuit.

"California AB 2943 is a very dangerous bill that will do a lot of damage to people seeking help with unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told CBN News.
I dare say that Mad Mat should never accuse anyone else of being confused. He will try to sue. That is what he does in spite of the fact that he almost always loses. He lost his appeal to the Supreme Court in Pickup. According to the Ninth Circuit five years ago, what is regulated is professional conduct and not speech. Staver is crazy enough to think that he can revisit this issue. Meanwhile, the ban will be in place.

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