There is a great deal of controversy surrounding California’s new Assembly Bill 2943 — and with good reason.
The bill, which is intended to completely stop anyone from attempting to offer what the state calls “sexual orientation change efforts”, uses broad language that could represent an unconscionable assault on freedom of speech, resulting not only in harassment of conservative Christians who do not agree with the liberal ideals but even wind up prohibiting the sale of printed materials that could be construed as anti-gay and/or anti-transgender.
Naturally, liberals laugh at the notion that Assembly Bill 2943 would impact the sale of Bibles and/or other Christian materials. They note that people can buy what they want online and state that the bill only seeks to stop those who would seek to offer counseling to help a person change his or her sexual orientation. However, a closer look at the wording used in the law makes it clear that this bill does far more than prohibit counselors from helping people change their sexual orientation.
First of all, it is important to look at the broad free-speech implications of this proposed new law. If it were to take effect, people who tithe to a church would not be able to obtain counseling related to sexual orientation from their pastor, even if these people wanted it. A doctor would not be able to inform a child or his or her parents that gender dysphoria is not a permanent condition, and it is not uncommon to outgrow it as the years go by. While some people naturally don’t want to receive counseling that would encourage them to change their sexual orientation, blocking those who actually want this counseling from receiving it is not only an assault on free speech but also freedom of association and freedom of worship.
What is more, the law does make it possible for the state to ban the sale of Bibles and other Christian materials either now or in the future. While some would say that this is not the intention, there is a long record of laws that were passed at one point of time being used for an entirely different purpose as the years go by.
For example, Title IX was passed in the 1970s to provide girls with more educational opportunities; however, it was later used by the Obama administration to force educational institutions to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms of their choice. Because the bill clearly states that any sexual orientation change efforts can be prosecuted under California’s “Consumer Legal Remedies Act”, it opens the door for disgruntled individuals to challenge the sale of any printed material that would challenge a liberal point of view. This includes not only Christian self-help books, but also Bible-based materials that teach about marriage in general.
The state of California could also easily expand any laws governing the sale and distribution of printed materials to cover online content for those who have a California-based website. The latter move would not only affect free speech in California but also throughout the nation as internet sites based in any one state are viewed throughout the country.
Free speech is a cornerstone principle that sets free countries apart from dictatorships. However, it only works if it is available to everyone, not just those who are promoting a popular point of view. Denying free speech rights to those who embrace controversial points of view is a dangerous step towards totalitarianism.
If Assembly Bill 2943 does become law in the state, it would not only stop millions of American citizens from exercising their constitutional rights but also inspire other states with liberal governments to adopt similar Draconian laws.
~ Liberty Planet