California's controversial AB 2943 has been withdrawn by the author, Assemblymember Evan Low.
Assembly Bill 2943 would have made it illegal to sell any service intended to change an individual's sexuality or gender identity.
"I knew this was an emotionally charged issue, so I spent the past few months traveling up and down the state meeting with a wide variety of faith leaders," said Low in a statement released on his website. "I was heartened by the conversations."
After meeting personally with pastors, professional counselors, and former homosexuals who lead ministries to others in the LGBT community, the Assemblymember decided to continue the dialogue beyond this legislative session. "With a hopeful eye toward the future, I share with you that, despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate, I will not be sending AB 2943 to the governor this year," Low concluded.
Mr. Low's decision was greeted with relief and gratitude by Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council.
"People of faith across California and around the nation care deeply about our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who identify as LGBTQ," Keller said. "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."
Keller went on to thank Assemblymember Low for his unprecedented outreach to the faith community in response to the threat AB 2943 posed to their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms.
"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 continued. "Today is also a testament to the courageous counselors, ministry leaders, pastors, and once gay individuals who bravely shared their personal stories, ensuring that these vital perspectives were not overlooked in the legislative process."
Bethel Church also thanked Low for listening to the concerns of the faith community.
"We are grateful for Assemblyman Low’s courage and humility in his willingness to dialogue with California pastors and once-gay people these past months. He took time to hear how AB2943 would impact people of faith and particularly once-gay people, and has shown commitment to creating opportunities for further dialogue," he said.