Debate over a controversial California bill has been delayed but a conservative group is rallying the public to keep up the pressure.
AB 2943 was scheduled to be debated on the California Senate floor on July 5, before the start of the summer recess, but bill author Evan Low (pictured at right) decided to delay the vote one month.
California's state legislators are set to return August 6 after their summer break and the bill could very well sail through the legislature as it has done so far.
Jonathan Keller of California Family Council credits overwhelming public pressure for the delay.
"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," he tells 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."
With the vocal support of homosexual activists, several other states have passed laws to ban so-called "conversion therapy" by licensed counselors, including a similar law in California that affects minors. But critics of AB 2943 have warned that Low, who is openly homosexual, went much farther by making it an "unlawful business transaction" to claim a homosexual such as Low can become a straight male.
Legal writers such as David French have pointed out out how the bill is attached to California's consumer fraud laws, warning that a product such as a book claiming a homosexual can become straight, for example, would run afoul of this new law if it's sold to the public in The Golden State.
Although it's unlikely that California authorities will "sweep" through Christian bookstores, French wrote, the bill gives the state that power. He declared in an April commentary:
The faith community can and should continue to provide services and goods that state its perspective. Californians can seek to rebut faith claims. They can offer competing goods and services, but they do not have the power to declare Christian arguments about sexual morality and gender identity fraudulent and attempt to banish them from the public square.
Fact-checking website such as Snopes, however, have scoffed at claims the Bible could also be banned for sale.
"California Assembly Bill 2943 does not mention the Bible, Christianity, or religion at all," Snopes declared back in April, but its own assessment was described as a "sneaky liar" by seminary professor Robert Gagnon in a column for The Federalist.
It's irrelevant if the bill doesn't mention the Bible, Gagnon responded, "if the wording of the bill is broad enough to encompass them."
Pointing out there is no religious exemption in the bill, Gagnon went on to warn:
We have learned on LGBTQ matters what is exempted is not exempted for long and what is not exempted has no exemption. If you haven’t figured this out by now, you haven’t been paying attention.
In addition to warning of the Draconian language, opponents of AB 2943 have fought back with the testimonies of ex-homosexuals who have told California legislators that adults should have the legal right to seek the counseling that they want.
OneNewsNow reported in a June 12 story that Elizabeth Woning, a former lesbian, is campaigning against the measure with along with other ex-homosexuals.
Echoing the warning from other critics of the measure, Keller tells OneNewsNow that anyone outside of California should think twice before ignoring this issue.
"What happens in California doesn't stay there," he explains. "If this bill passes, you can guarantee it will be coming to the state where you live sooner or later."