Prayers answered, for now – 'Must Stay Gay' bill shelved
Friday, August 31, 2018
Jody Brown (OneNewsNow.com)
A homosexual legislator in California is being applauded for pulling his controversial bill that would have made it illegal to offer resources or engage in efforts aimed at changing an individual's unwanted same-sex attractions.
Labeled by critics as the "Must Stay Gay" bill, AB 2943 declares that "advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual" is illegal under the state's consumer fraud law. It had been passed by both the California Assembly and Senate and was being prepared to send to Governor Jerry Brown – until today.
Democratic Assemblymember Evan Low, sponsor of the bill, has now shelved the bill for this legislative session, citing opposition from religious leaders and groups in the Golden State.
"The best policy is not made in a vacuum – and in order to advance the strongest piece of legislation, the bill requires additional time to allow for an inclusive process not hampered by legislative deadlines," the legislator says in a press release. "... Despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate, I will not be sending AB 2943 to the governor this year."
Today was the last day of the year for the legislature to give final approval to bills before sending them to the governor.
The California Family Council calls the turnaround "an incredible answer to the prayers" of thousands of people across the U.S.
"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."
"As Mr. Low muses over his reasons for dropping his misguided bill, average Californians should realize what his broad, chilling ban represented. Basic choices were denied, free speech was attacked, religious freedom was trampled. And Low's fellow Democrat legislators supported this full-scale assault on people's constitutional rights. This is an outrage and voters should take note."
"People of faith across California and around the nation care deeply about our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who identify as LGBTQ," says CFC president Jonathan Keller. "AB 2943 would have tragically lilmited our ability to offer compassionate support related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and even to preach Jesus' message of unconditional love and life transformation."
Keller also credits Low's "unprecedented outreach" to the faith community and personal meetings with faith leaders in response to the First Amendment threat posed by the bill.
He adds: "Today is also a testament to the courageous counselors, ministry leaders, pastors, and OnceGay individuals who bravely shared their personal stories, ensuring that these vital perspectives were not overlooked in the legislative process."
The bill, however, isn't dead. Low says he's committed to continuing to work towards creating a policy that "protects and celebrates the identities of LGBT Californians" and becomes "a model for the nation to look towards."
California Family Council led a coalition of organizations and mobilized tens of thousands of Californians in expressing their concerns about AB 2943.
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