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California Assemblyman Gives Up On Bill Making It Illegal To Advertise Sexual Identity Conversion Services

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Grace Carr Reporter

A California assemblyman gave up his effort to pass a bill outlawing any efforts to advertise gay and gender identity conversion therapy Friday.

Sponsored by California Assemblyman Evan Low, who is gay,  AB 2943 would have made any “transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer [advertising] … sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” a fraudulent business practice. The bill would not have banned books, according to Low.

The state Assembly approved the measure in April and it passed California’s state Senate Aug. 16.

“It is my obligation as a Legislator to make this difficult decision in the interest of finding common ground. The path towards full equality is a long journey, but a journey best traveled together,” Low tweeted Friday, announcing that he would not further pursue the bill’s passage. (RELATED: Maryland Prohibits Conversion Therapy For Gay Youth)

“I authored Assembly Bill 2943 to ensure a remedy for those who are deceived by this [conversion therapy] deceptive practice,” Low wrote in a Friday press release. “Despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate, I will not be sending AB 2943 to the Governor this year,” Low continued.

“For far too long, LGBTQ Californians have been psychologically abused by sham therapists who are supposed to be caring for their emotional well-being,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur in a statement applauding the bill’s initial approval, according to NewNowNext.

Other groups view the legislation as an affront to free speech and the First Amendment.

“If passed, AB 2943 would have criminalized even ordinary religious speech on same-sex attraction, and it also would have forbidden LGBT persons from making a deeply personal choice to explore conversion therapy,” Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund Executive Director Daniel Piedra said in a Friday press release. “We applaud Assemblymember Low for understanding he represents all his California constituents.”

“AB 2943 would have tragically limited our ability to offer compassionate support related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and even to preach Jesus’ message of unconditional love and life transformation,” California Family Council president Jonathan Keller said in a statement, according to The Sacramento Bee. “We are inexpressibly grateful to Assemblymember Low for meeting personally with faith leaders over the last several months and sincerely listening to our concerns,” Keller also said.

Fourteen states ban gay conversion therapy.

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