A resolution blaming religious groups supporting ‘sexual orientation change efforts therapies’ was passed by the controversial California Legislature for the attempted suicides and suicides of people identifying as LGBT.
Last week, the state Senate approved ACR-99 in a party-line vote demanding people of faith change their approach towards ministering to people that identify as LGBT or are same-sex attracted.
The non-binding resolution was sponsored by Evan Low, a Democratic state Assemblyman from San Jose.
Low praised the support the resolution received from some in the evangelical community.
“We have evangelical leaders putting their name to this resolution, coming to present in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, to stand by the side of the LGBT community in partnership in denouncing ‘conversion therapy’ as a harmful practice,” he said.
ACR-99’s text criticizes counselors, pastors, and all other religious ministers for ‘stigmatizing beliefs’ and contributing to suicide and depression in an attempt to help those struggling with gender confusion or same-sex attraction.
This comes a year after Low brought forward the legislation AB-2943 that categorized such counseling as ‘consumer fraud’. However, Low withdrew the legislation before it headed to the governor’s desk amid public outcry.
ACR-99 is a resolution and does not require the governor’s signature. Its supporters assert that religious liberty cannot be applied here since counseling from faith-based groups amounted to discrimination, mental health malpractice, and psychological torture.
Hannah Beth Jackson, Democratic state senator of Santa Barbara iterated that as per the First Amendment no religion could impose on another faith. But the other side counters that Jackson does not have any faith.
Legislators opposing the measure, such as Republican state senator Andreas Borgeas of Fresno, highlighted the importance of freedom of speech, how the measure encroached upon First Amendment rights, and how defending rational principles should be protected.
Borgeas knows that California is already becoming the point of ridicule for so many across the country because of resolutions such as ACR-99.