CA State Assembly Declares Gay Conversion Therapy as Fraud.

Republicans have opposed this bill, citing the First Amendment.

The California Assembly voted to include gay conversion therapy on the state’s existing list of fraudulent business practices. The vote followed a debate on personal experiences of several lawmakers. There is an even chance of potential lawsuits in Californian courts. The bill was written by Assemblyman Evan Low, an elected Democrat from Campbell.

Assemblyman Low pointed out to other assembly members that conversion therapy, described as a practice which involves trying to change a person’s sexual orientation, has proved to be ineffective. Low is also one of the most vocal members of the LGBTQ community within the California Legislature. He said that this therapy is a harmful one. He added that many are cheated of their money by unscrupulous people selling or advertising this therapy. It follows that the victims must have legal recourse.

For Low, the anti-conversion law strikes a personal chord. He told his assembly co-members that he went through conversion therapy when he was a teenager. He consequently suffered from depression as a result. When informed that many of the lawmakers were concerned about whether this bill could restrict religious freedom by prevention of sexual orientation change discussions, the Assemblyman assured everyone that the bill will not inhibit freedom of religion or speech. It will be applicable only to financial transactions and commercial practices. Low said people will be able to preach concerning the change of sexual orientation, but they cannot sell or advertise conversion therapy. The bill will not cover people speaking about gay conversion or selling books about this subject.

An essential component of the debate revolves around whether the Assembly Bill 2943 will have its effects beyond businesses which charge money for conversion programs. This notion has been nixed by Assembly Judiciary Committee, which reiterated that services included in this particular bill will be applied which purports to change the sexual orientation of any person if money is exchanged.

Susan Talamantes Eggman, a Democrat from Stockton, took a jab at conversion promoters, saying that they can try to abolish gay tendencies by praying, but warned that this has not been effective. She added that it is a fraudulent practice to advertise that it is possible to change the orientation of any person.

Republicans have opposed this bill. Assemblyman Matthew Harper said that this bill casts a shadow on religious freedom.

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