Liberty Counsel: CA Bill Against Gay Conversion Could Ban Christian Books, Speech

By Michael W. Chapman | April 25, 2018 | 5:02pm EDT
Liberty Counsel President
Mat Staver. (YouTube)

( -- The California House recently passed legislation (AB 2943) that says "advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual" is a fraudulaent business practice, and if it passes in the Senate and becomes law, it could result in certain books, speakers, and conferences being banned, including the Bible, said Mat Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel. 

The bill "is so broad that it bans books, printed materials and advertisements that provide information that a person facing unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion can change," said Staver. "[It] is a dramatic infringement on First Amendment rights and is a classic viewpoint discrimination. It declares certain kinds of speech as consumer fraud."

"A pastor, church or para-church ministry could be banned from holding a conference or selling books or videos about overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion," he said. 

The legislation states, "Courts, including in California, have recognized the practice of sexual orientation change efforts as a commercial service. Therefore, claims that sexual orientation change efforts are effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation may constitute unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under state consumer protection laws. This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act."

As for banning certain Christian books, videos, and speakers, Randy Thomasson, the president of, told CBN News that this could happen because the bill "is only triggered when money is being exchanged for 'sexual orientation change efforts,' and there is no exemption for religious institutions or religious material."

Former evangelist Billy Graham, who passed away on Feb. 21, 2018. (YouTube)

"Could that include selling Bibles?" he said.  "Possibly, but not likely; much more likely to be targeted are speakers, books, and videos helping people get out of homosexuality and transsexuality."

Commenting on the legislation, California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a liberal Democrat, said, "The First Amendment does not prohibit banning fraudulent conduct. The faith community, like anyone else, needs to evolve with the times."

Staver gave an example of how Christian speech or literature potentially could be banned under the proposed law. In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:9 refers to homosexuality and then verse 11 states, "'And such were some of you,' thus clearly stating that through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, people with same-sex attractions or who engaged in same-sex behavior can change," said Staver.

(Screenshot: YouTube) 

"Advertising this passage or quoting it in a brochure would be considered fraudulent business practices under this bill," he said. 

Staver continued, “California AB 2943 is a dangerous bill that would punish people for their biblical beliefs about marriage, gender and human sexuality."

"This law is stunning in its breadth," he said.  "The mask of those supporting this oppressive bill has been removed. Their goal is to crush Christianity and any viewpoint that does not align with the state. We stand ready to file suit to stop this assault on freedom if this bill is signed into law."

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-homosexuality advocacy group, praised the action of the California Assembly in an April 19 statement.

“Today, California legislators rightfully declared that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a complete sham and those who offer this deceptive and dangerous practice must be held accountable,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “California was the first state to protect minors from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed health care providers, and today’s vote is an important step to protecting all LGBTQ people from this debunked practice. We thank the assembly members who voted in favor of AB 2943 and urge the Senate to swiftly advance the bill to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.”

The HRC also claimed that there is no "credible evidence" that conversion therapy can help a person turn away from same-sex attraction. However, some doctors have shown how homosexuality can be prevented and explained how reparative therapy can repair people.

The California bill must pass in two Senate committees before it goes to the full floor for a vote, which could happen as early as the end of May, according to news reports. 

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