Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Reparative Therapy Bans Struck Down -- California Assemblyman Must Respect Therapy Equality

South Bay Assemblyman Attempt to Ban Reparative Therapy Hits Another Roadblock

Assemblyman Should Quit Discriminating Against Former LGBT People

During the 2018 California state legislative session, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino) introduced AB 2943. If passed, this legislation would have made all forms of reparative therapy illegal in the state of California. For those not aware, reparative (or reintegrative, not “conversion”) therapy helps individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction or unwelcome gender dysphoria. They can help with the deeper emotional traumas that cause those attractions, and the therapy has saved many lives. However, Low’s ambitious legislation would make is to that people in pain could no longer offer services to adults to help them break free of unwanted same-sex desires or gender dysphoria concerns. Currently, the state of California has banned reparative therapy for minors. That legislation, SB 1172, passed in 2012 and became law with Governor Brown’s signature. AB 2943 would have made reparative therapy illegal for adults, as well.

During the 2018 session, a number of lawmakers recognized that the legislation was so broad, that it would have banned any writings, printings, talks, discussions, tapes, etc. which defended natural marriage and biological distinctions of male and female. In effect, legal experts confirmed that this legislation would have banned the Bible!

The uproar all over the state of California was intense. MassResistance, the international pro-family group that makes the difference, began networking with different activist groups throughout the state of California. Conservative insiders working in Sacramento also kept our team apprised of what was going on in the state legislature. For the last month of the legislative session in 2018, MassResistance members lobbied state legislators on the phone, in their district offices, and even in their capitol offices to stop this bill.

MassResistance members hosted conference calls with key staffers in Sacramento. We informed them that this push to ban a life-saving therapy would enrage churches and conservatives across the state, beef up their fundraising, and force a number of liberal legislators out of office that year. Furthermore, two key federal court cases announced that reparative therapy bans are unconstitutional restrictions of free speech. AB 2943 would have invited multiple lawsuits against the state, force the case before the United States Supreme Court, which would strike down reparative therapy bans across the country.

The legislation stalled, and the State Senate incorporated amendments so that the bill would no longer target printed materials, but that was not enough.  On the final day of the 2017-2018 legislative session, Assemblyman Low announced that he was pulling his bill, citing concerns that he had not done enough outreach to California’s church communities. The truth is that the pressure on key lawmakers in the state assembly had proven too much for them to ignore.

Come 2019, with the opening of the new legislative session, Assemblyman Low did not introduce the reparative therapy ban. Instead, he introduced a resolution, ACR 99, which basically blamed churches and Christians for anti-LGBT hostility in California, as well as the preponderance of disease, dysfunction, and death with afflicts LGBT individuals. Numerous studies have confirmed, however, that homosexual acts or gender transition therapies are inherently destructive. Furthermore, the mental health issues with LGBT behaviors cannot be overstated, and even in LGBT-affirming countries, there is a higher incidence of disease, dysfunction, and death associated with the whole LGBT scene.

Sadly, Asm. Low’s resolution passed this year. Thankfully, it has no legal force other than expressing the opinion of the state legislature. Still, this resolution was introduced in order to pave the way for Assemblyman Low to reintroduce his ban on reparative therapy next year. The fight for Therapy Equality has not stopped. However, Assemblyman Low’s chances of moving forward on this anti-liberty legislation may have hit another roadblock, and this time from the most unlikely place.

New York City Repeals Reparative Therapy Ban (for minors and adults)

In 2017, New York City passed a comprehensive reparative therapy ban of its own, much like AB 2943. This legislation was the most oppressive, banning the therapy for children and adults and levying fines for any therapist who offered the service. This move should come as now surprise, since communistic Mayor Bill De Blasio and the uber-liberal, read socialist city council have been pushing the LGBT agenda relentlessly in their city. After all, the city of New York is also one of the most pro-LGBT jurisdictions in the country.

NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
Was forced to repeal their comprehensive
reparative therapy ban

Earlier this year, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of David Schwartz, a Brooklyn Rabbi and psychotherapist to overturn the comprehensive reparative therapy ban. According to the lawsuit, the law is overly broad, and it violates freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  Rather than fighting the lawsuit in court, The Speaker of the New York City City Council, Corey Johnson (who is openly gay), acknowledged that the best of course action was to repeal New York City’s ban rather than risk an extensive series of legal challenges.

Why is one of the most pro-LGBT cities in the country unwilling to fight?

First of all, The Alliance Defending Freedom has a strong record of winning free speech cases, with nine victories before the United States Supreme Court. Second of all, the federal courts throughout the country, particularly the Second District Circuit Court of Appeals, have become increasingly conservative, siding with freedom of speech and pro-family causes since Trump’s election and nomination of effective, constitutionalist jurists. Last of all, the United States Supreme Court has signaled their readiness to strike down reparative therapy bans in their recent decision NIFLA v. Becerra. A district court has already struck down a reparative therapy ban for minors in Florida (see Vazzo v. Tampa).

Image result for Therapy equality now massresistance
Asm. Low: Therapy Equality NOW!

Within days of New York City’s announced repeal, MassResistance members contacted Assemblyman Evan Low’s office, urging him to discontinue further attempts to criminalize free speech and stop attacking a therapy which has saved many lives. The staffer indicated that Asm. Low is aware of the case and will be assessing his options going into the next legislative year. Of course, Low should be aware that just as the federal judiciary which oversees New York State has become decidedly more conservative, so too the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has also shifted considerably toward protecting free speech and family values. It’s a matter of time before these cases will arrive in front of the United States Supreme Court, and their final ruling will strike down reparative therapy bans across the country, including SB 1172.

Asm. Evan Low speaking with one of our MassResistance activists

We urge all residents in the South Bay (and throughout the state of California) to contact Assemblyman Evan Low’s office and tell him to do the following:

1.       Abandon all further efforts to ban reparative therapy for adults. It’s an immoral abuse of power which will endanger lives. It’s also a violation of the First Amendment and will not survive any court challenges.

2.       Repeal SB 1172, and allow children struggling with same-sex issues or gender dysphoria to receive life-saving therapy once again.

Capitol Office
P.O. Box 942849
Room 4126
Sacramento, CA 94249-0028
Tel: (916) 319-2028
Fax: (916) 319-2128

District Office:
20111 Stevens Creek Blvd
Suite 220
Cupertino, CA 95014
Tel: (408) 446-2810

For more information, please contact
Arthur Schaper
Organization Director, MassResistance
Phone: (781) 890-6001

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