Democratic lawmakers in California are pushing through a measure that would ban counselors from practicing what was once known as "conversion therapy."
The bill would prohibit adults from choosing to obtain professional, expert counseling to help them overcome their unwanted same-sex desires or gender confusion.
On July 2 the bill, known as AB2943, was sent to the California Senate floor without a hearing and without any amendments. That paves the way for the legislation to come up for a vote on July 5.
AB2943 would also censor the religious speech of churches, para-church ministries, and pastors surrounding the issue of overcoming homosexual desires.
Earlier this year, several former homosexuals rallied in opposition to the bill, including Luis Ruiz who survived the deadly Pulse Nightclub shooting.
"The Pulse Nightclub shooting was a very tragic event and I lost many friends," Ruiz said. "The church came in and prayed with me. They came in and showed me scriptures through the word of God. I was able to not only just be free of the lifestyle, but be free of me in general -- from every type of sin and I don't feel that someone should dictate and tell me that I can't go seek help for any of that. And I think we should vote 'no,'" he told a crowd on the steps of a California courthouse.
Many fear that if California approves the measure it could eventually threaten the sale of the Bible.
'Fighting it here will probably stop it from reaching other places," explained Ruiz. "I don't think the government should have any 'say so' in how I choose to live my life. It will trickle down to the Bible because the Bible has verses in it about homosexuality."
Alliance Defending Freedom explains that the law at its core, "outlaws speech, whether offered by a licensed counselor, a best-selling author, or even a minister or religious leader. It targets a specific message - that an adult who is experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion can find help to address those issues – for censorship. The breadth of this censorship is staggering."
ADF also says "A bookstore (including online bookstores like Amazon) could not sell many recently published books challenging gender ideology and advocating that these beliefs should be rejected by society."
SaveCalifornia.com is urging residents in California to oppose AB2943 by calling their state senators and Gov. Jerry Brown to vote no the bill.
Meanwhile, Pastors are encouraged to make their congregations aware of the ramifications of this bill.