A pro-LGBTQ bill is quickly making its way through the California state assembly after it was approved on the floor Thursday. The bill now goes to the state Senate for a vote.
If passed, Assembly Bill 2943 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.
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.
Randy Thomasson with SaveCalifornia.com says the bill is very broad and could affect just about anything helping people overcome same-sex desires.
“So, this is a pastor speaking, you pay a ticket to hear him speak. He speaks about overcoming same-sex desires. Hey, that could be outlawed. A church sells a book about overcoming same-sex desires. There’s a sale, there’s a transaction, that could be banned,” Thomasson said.
“This is very expansive, very tyrannical and absolutely squashing free speech, religious freedom and basic choice of people. This is an anti-freedom, anti-American bill,” Thomasson told CBN News.
Essentially, churches and Christian schools that share biblical teaching on the subject would be open to a lawsuit.
CBN News asked Thomasson if this bill could eventually lead to a ban on Bibles or even books from other faiths like the Koran.
“Well, you could see this law going into effect. A church bookstore selling the Bible, of course, selling a book about marriage or sexual purity or overcoming homosexuality or overcoming trans-sexuality. You could see a member of the public or even a member of the state government coming and saying, ‘Hey, that’s illegal,'” Thomasson answered.
“Even the Muslim community should be against this, too, because of what is said about sexual perversity in the Koran,” Thomasson also said.
If AB 2943 clears California’s Senate and is signed into law, it would negatively impact Christian counselors, bookstores, church conferences, as well as medical and health professionals.
The bill also seeks to ban biblically based counseling for those wanting to get help.
It comes six years after California deemed it illegal for minors to receive counseling for same-sex attraction, even if they and their parents wanted help. Now, this bill would also address adults.
“AB 2943 would start by saying, ok, nobody can get counseling to overcome same-sex desires… ok, so no help for adult children, adults who were molested as kids and now they are adults and they say I want help to overcome these feelings. No help for you,” Thomasson explained.
The bill states that “contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.”
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told CBN News that what makes this bill especially dangerous is that California often leads the charge in pushing the LGBTQ legislative agenda.
California was one of the first states to ban “conversion therapy” for minors. Shortly afterward, Oregon, New Jersey, and Vermont passed similar laws.
“People have the right to seek the counsel of their choice, but this bill substitutes the government for personal choice. The implications are staggering, and the result is harmful,” Staver said in a statement to CBN News.
Liberty Counsel further explains, “This bill would also make it unlawful for any person to sell books, including the Bible, counseling services, or anything else that directs people to trust in Jesus Christ to help them overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.”
“Imagine a church not allowed to sell Christian books, or even Bibles, that help people overcome same-sex attractions. This bill will do the unimaginable if passed. If it does pass, we will immediately file suit,” the religious liberties organization states.
SEC. 3. Section 1770 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
1770. (a) The following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer are unlawful:
(1) Passing off goods or services as those of another.
(2) Misrepresenting the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services.
(3) Misrepresenting the affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by, another.
(4) Using deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services.
(5) Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he or she does not have.
(6) Representing that goods are original or new if they have deteriorated unreasonably or are altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand.
(7) Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another.
(8) Disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact.
(9) Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.
(10) Advertising goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity.
(11) Advertising furniture without clearly indicating that it is unassembled if that is the case.
(12) Advertising the price of unassembled furniture without clearly indicating the assembled price of that furniture if the same furniture is available assembled from the seller.
(13) Making false or misleading statements of fact concerning reasons for, existence of, or amounts of, price reductions.
(14) Representing that a transaction confers or involves rights, remedies, or obligations that it does not have or involve, or that are prohibited by law.
(15) Representing that a part, replacement, or repair service is needed when it is not.
(16) Representing that the subject of a transaction has been supplied in accordance with a previous representation when it has not.
(17) Representing that the consumer will receive a rebate, discount, or other economic benefit, if the earning of the benefit is contingent on an event to occur subsequent to the consummation of the transaction.
(18) Misrepresenting the authority of a salesperson, representative, or agent to negotiate the final terms of a transaction with a consumer.
(19) Inserting an unconscionable provision in the contract.
(20) Advertising that a product is being offered at a specific price plus a specific percentage of that price unless (A) the total price is set forth in the advertisement, which may include, but is not limited to, shelf tags, displays, and media advertising, in a size larger than any other price in that advertisement, and (B) the specific price plus a specific percentage of that price represents a markup from the seller’s costs or from the wholesale price of the product. This subdivision shall not apply to in-store advertising by businesses that are open only to members or cooperative organizations organized pursuant to Division 3 (commencing with Section 12000) of Title 1 of the Corporations Code where more than 50 percent of purchases are made at the specific price set forth in the advertisement.
(21) Selling or leasing goods in violation of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1797.8) of Title 1.7.
(22) (A) Disseminating an unsolicited prerecorded message by telephone without an unrecorded, natural voice first informing the person answering the telephone of the name of the caller or the organization being represented, and either the address or the telephone number of the caller, and without obtaining the consent of that person to listen to the prerecorded message.
(B) This subdivision does not apply to a message disseminated to a business associate, customer, or other person having an established relationship with the person or organization making the call, to a call for the purpose of collecting an existing obligation, or to any call generated at the request of the recipient.
(23) (A) The home solicitation, as defined in subdivision (h) of Section 1761, of a consumer who is a senior citizen where a loan is made encumbering the primary residence of that consumer for purposes of paying for home improvements and where the transaction is part of a pattern or practice in violation of either subsection (h) or (i) of Section 1639 of Title 15 of the United States Code or paragraphs (1), (2), and (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 226.34 of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(B) A third party shall not be liable under this subdivision unless (i) there was an agency relationship between the party who engaged in home solicitation and the third party, or (ii) the third party had actual knowledge of, or participated in, the unfair or deceptive transaction. A third party who is a holder in due course under a home solicitation transaction shall not be liable under this subdivision.
(24) (A) Charging or receiving an unreasonable fee to prepare, aid, or advise any prospective applicant, applicant, or recipient in the procurement, maintenance, or securing of public social services.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the following definitions shall apply:
(i) “Public social services” means those activities and functions of state and local government administered or supervised by the State Department of Health Care Services, the State Department of Public Health, or the State Department of Social Services, and involved in providing aid or services, or both, including health care services, and medical assistance, to those persons who, because of their economic circumstances or social condition, are in need of that aid or those services and may benefit from them.
(ii) “Public social services” also includes activities and functions administered or supervised by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the California Department of Veterans Affairs involved in providing aid or services, or both, to veterans, including pension benefits.
(iii) “Unreasonable fee” means a fee that is exorbitant and disproportionate to the services performed. Factors to be considered, if appropriate, in determining the reasonableness of a fee, are based on the circumstances existing at the time of the service and shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(I) The time and effort required.
(II) The novelty and difficulty of the services.
(III) The skill required to perform the services.
(IV) The nature and length of the professional relationship.
(V) The experience, reputation, and ability of the person providing the services.
(C) This paragraph shall not apply to attorneys licensed to practice law in California, who are subject to the California Rules of Professional Conduct and to the mandatory fee arbitration provisions of Article 13 (commencing with Section 6200) of Chapter 4 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, when the fees charged or received are for providing representation in administrative agency appeal proceedings or court proceedings for purposes of procuring, maintaining, or securing public social services on behalf of a person or group of persons.
(25) (A) Advertising or promoting any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or other public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements that does not include the following statement in the same type size and font as the term “veteran” or any variation of that term:
(i) “I am not authorized to file an initial application for Veterans’ Aid and Attendance benefits on your behalf, or to represent you before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in any proceeding on any matter, including an application for such benefits. It would be illegal for me to accept a fee for preparing that application on your behalf.” The requirements of this clause do not apply to a person licensed to act as an agent or attorney in proceedings before the Agency of Original Jurisdiction and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs when that person is offering those services at the advertised event.
(ii) The statement in clause (i) shall also be disseminated, both orally and in writing, at the beginning of any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements.
(B) Advertising or promoting any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or other public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements that is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other congressionally chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States, or any of their auxiliaries that does not include the following statement, in the same type size and font as the term “veteran” or the variation of that term:
“This event is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other congressionally chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States, or any of their auxiliaries. None of the insurance products promoted at this sales event are endorsed by those organizations, all of which offer free advice to veterans about how to qualify and apply for benefits.”
(i) The statement in this subparagraph shall be disseminated, both orally and in writing, at the beginning of any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements.
(ii) The requirements of this subparagraph shall not apply in a case where the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, or other congressionally chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States, or any of their auxiliaries have granted written permission to the advertiser or promoter for the use of its name, symbol, or insignia to advertise or promote the event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or other public gathering.
(26) Advertising, offering for sale, or selling a financial product that is illegal under state or federal law, including any cash payment for the assignment to a third party of the consumer’s right to receive future pension or veteran’s benefits.
(27) Representing that a product is made in California by using a Made in California label created pursuant to Section 12098.10 of the Government Code, unless the product complies with Section 12098.10 of the Government Code.
(28) Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.
(b) (1) It is an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a mortgage broker or lender, directly or indirectly, to use a home improvement contractor to negotiate the terms of any loan that is secured, whether in whole or in part, by the residence of the borrower and that is used to finance a home improvement contract or any portion of a home improvement contract. For purposes of this subdivision, “mortgage broker or lender” includes a finance lender licensed pursuant to the California Finance Lenders Law (Division 9 (commencing with Section 22000) of the Financial Code), a residential mortgage lender licensed pursuant to the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (Division 20 (commencing with Section 50000) of the Financial Code), or a real estate broker licensed under the Real Estate Law (Division 4 (commencing with Section 10000) of the Business and Professions Code).
(2) This section shall not be construed to either authorize or prohibit a home improvement contractor from referring a consumer to a mortgage broker or lender by this subdivision. However, a home improvement contractor may refer a consumer to a mortgage lender or broker if that referral does not violate Section 7157 of the Business and Professions Code or any other law. A mortgage lender or broker may purchase an executed home improvement contract if that purchase does not violate Section 7157 of the Business and Professions Code or any other law. Nothing in this paragraph shall have any effect on the application of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1801) of Title 2 to a home improvement transaction or the financing of a home improvement transaction.