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Book Banning in California

A facially unconstitutional law is under consideration by the California legislature. See analysis here. Under the aegis of the consumer protection powers, the act would ban all exchange of money for "orientation change efforts" with any individual. On its face this would amount to the outright ban on the sale of any books, courses, or other materials that can be seen as trying to help or induce someone to change his sexual orientation or overcome gender confusion. As Robert Gagnon has pointed out, it would also facially ban charging fees for conference attendance or college classes in which such material is presented.

My rather gloomy prediction goes approximately like this:

Step 1: The law passes in California.

Step 2: The law is constitutionally challenged.

Step 3: SCOTUS rules that, one way or another, it shouldn't be applied to ban the sale of books or the content of conferences or college classes, but severability clauses mean that SCOTUS is allowed to uphold a complete ban on personal (one-on-one) therapy or counseling of any kind in exchange for a fee when that counseling is in line with traditional moral views, and SCOTUS does narrowly uphold this ban by a 5-4 majority.

Step 4: The fact that the law was partially reinterpreted or struck down and partially upheld will be hailed by both left and right as a victory.

Step 5: The left will harass sellers of books, conference materials, classes, etc., trying to push as far as they can to widen the definition of "therapy." This will have a chilling effect upon all expression of traditional moral views throughout the state, especially in colleges, despite the partial SCOTUS strikedown.

Step 6: All traditional moral counseling on gender dysphoria and homosexual attraction, for all ages, even if desired by the client, unless done for no fee and probably only by pastors, will be ruthlessly suppressed using the full power of law.

Of course, all of this will take some years to play out, so you'll have to check the accuracy of my crystal ball later on.

Meanwhile, if you're in California or know someone who is, especially anyone running a Christian college, think-tank, or other institution that charges fees for any purpose and addresses these issues, get involved or encourage others to get involved and oppose CA AB 2943, AB 1779, and AB 2119.

Comments (44)

The Shrieking Harpies of Toleration strike again: "We're so insistent on toleration that we'll destroy you if you say anything we don't like." Tolerance - it ain't for sissies any more.
Paging George Orwell...

The uninitiated may assume, from the appearances, that the Shrieking Harpies of Toleration are really the Nazi SS or the Communist KGB in drag. Though they may think so, in actuality, they would fail to be 100% incorrect.

I wonder whether the Shrieking Harpies will land with the full force of the law on a gay man with attraction to men, who decides he wants to become a female attracted to men (thus changing orientation from gay to heterosexual), that any therapy designed to do so would run directly against the law. And with the ever changing letters to the KGBLTQ alphabet soup, who could possibly keep up with what is permissible and what is not? Perhaps staying just as you are is somehow offensive to those who insist that changing your persona frequently is natural? Maybe we need a law saying that if anything you do is offensive to me merely by implication or exttrapolation that it might imply something about my behavior, that is illegal?

I did wonder if they'd prosecute someone for helping a straight person who wanted to change his orientation and become gay...

Probably not. It would suddenly become a moment for prosecutorial discretion.

"I did wonder if they'd prosecute someone for helping a straight person who wanted to change his orientation and become gay..."

"Probably not. It would suddenly become a moment for prosecutorial discretion."


From AB 2943:

"SEC. 2. Section 1761 of the Civil Code is amended to read:"

"(i) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation."

As I read the proposed law merely "helping" would imply an initiation by the client and would fall under (2). "Seeking to" and "resulting in" are two different things. If a client, in the course of exploring his orientation, decides one way or another - well, that's why there's therapy.

"SEC. 3. Section 1770 of the Civil Code is amended to read:"

"1770. (a) The following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer are unlawful:"

"(28) Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual."

I don't see books being banned being part of the plan here. First Amendment anyway.

Initiation by the client does not mean that something falls under #2. Far from it. #2 also includes its not "seeking to change" orientation. There is no exception for "if the client wants to, then it's okay to seek to."

Al, perhaps you're unaware of this, but in states with such laws, activists have actually engaged in "sting" efforts in which they pretend to want to change their orientation, record conversations with therapists, and try to "catch" them offering therapy to help them bring about that goal. Obviously that would make no sense if mere client initiation and expression of the desire to change made cooperation with this goal legal.

Correction: It looks like the "sting operation" in question was conducted to embarrass the firm, not to show that it was doing something illegal. However, it's notable that the firm was considered to be seeking to change orientation even if the change were client-initiated and even if the therapist was not pushy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/us/politics/17clinic.html

California already bans orientation change therapy for minors, and this is widely taken to mean that it does not matter if the parents and minor desires the change. The therapy is still considered change therapy and hence illegal.

"...and identity exploration and development..." seems to me to be the operative phrasing one would use in determining things. It seems to me that a competent therapist would be able to help a client without inserting an agenda.

Perhaps a context you could relate to would be Lisa Miller's in which she was coerced into coming out as a lesbian while she was in a therapeutic situation.

If the postings on 4th wave are accurate it seems that some therapists have an agenda re: transgender. Perhaps this law applies to them also.

"...and identity exploration and development..." seems to me to be the operative phrasing one would use in determining things. It seems to me that a competent therapist would be able to help a client without inserting an agenda.

Al, when a client comes to you with CONFLICTED feelings and sense of self, part of the task of the therapist (as I have heard it from friends who are actually therapists) is to help them resolve their conflicted state. This usually means resolving competing ideas / feelings, which generally implies that after successful therapy the person will no longer be oppressed by conflicted feelings - ideally, because they no longer have them in conflict. They are "seeking to" get to a state where the conflict is non-existent. At some point, somewhere in the process, the patient and doctor will have to come to a decision about whether to pursue resolving toward A, or B, or C, and at that point the therapy is NO LONGER NEUTRAL about what they are seeking to achieve. At some point the doctor has to stop making every statement a hypothetical "IF you should decide...", and go with the pathway selected as no longer hypothetical.

But a large percentage of people that the KGBZLTQ groups want to co-opt are those who are conflicted, claiming that they "really are" gay, lesbian, bi, queer, variant, nutrois, or something else, and if the therapy ENDS UP at straight heterosexual, they level with charges of "attempting to change" the patient's gender or orientation. In effect, the level playing field is this: you can "explore" gender and orientation all you want, but if the EFFECT of that exploration is to resolve on end-game therapy to lock onto being straight cis heterosexual, and therefore "reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex" then the KGBQVX will charge non-neutral therapy. Heads we win, tails you lose.

Far more importantly: if a patient comes to a doctor and says "I have same sex attraction, this conflicts with my sense of the natural order, I believe it is a disorder, and I don't want to suffer from same sex attraction," according to the law the doctor is REQUIRED to say "I cannot treat you as you are requesting, it is illegal." However, (in Lydia's scenario with the SCOTUS) if the same person goes to a pastor, the pastor can try to help him (however fumbling and ineffective he might be because he isn't a trained therapist.

If the postings on 4th wave are accurate it seems that some therapists have an agenda re: transgender. Perhaps this law applies to them also.

When a psychiatrist who suggests to a tomboy that she might "really be a boy" and starts moving her toward transition by repeated suggestions gets prosecuted under this law, I will purchase my tickets for either ice skating on hell's rink or watching flying pig races in Modesto.

For clarification, are you referring to books like Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally? Regardless, I expect the sellers of such books will gladly give in to the harassment as described in step 5. I’m honestly surprised Amazon and other major sellers sell that book and others similar to it as is.

Gagnon's analysis is that any book that could be viewed as helping people to change their orientation or to be comfortable with their real gender (such as Nancy Pearcey's recent _Love Thy Body_) could plausibly be regarded as "orientation change efforts" and hence that selling them in the state could be illegal.

It's a good question whether Amazon would be pressured not to ship such books to California. I'm suspecting that the Californians wouldn't try that, but rather that they would pressure colleges not to require them for classes and conferences not to do so, arguing that such classes or conferences *themselves* constitute "orientation change efforts" if they are making use of such books, selling them, and teaching traditional ideas.

"I wonder whether the Shrieking Harpies will land with the full force of the law on a gay man with attraction to men, who decides he wants to become a female attracted to men (thus changing orientation from gay to heterosexual), that any therapy designed to do so would run directly against the law."

Tony, with all respect, you are really confused about all this. Anyway there is a well known film on that topic which was based on real events that happened back in the 1970s. Back in the day I knew a couple like that so it's a thing - just doesn't quite work like your example.

Any cases such as you hypothesize will likely be resolved with a reply similar to the one in Lydia's link - "Asked about the possibility of “getting rid of it completely,” Mr. Wiertzema replied that some people had, but that for others homosexuality simply “becomes manageable.”

I assume that any legal cases that may arise would have to resolve the possible tension between "efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex" and "identity exploration and development." Cases clarify.

At some point a person with the conflicts you indicate may need a competent spiritual advisor in addition to or instead of psychotherapy.

As for the book banning, DR84 might want to consider the following:

1. One may purchase books advocating all manner of cures for cancer that would cost a doctor his license and wealth were he to use them on patients. Nothing stops individuals from DIY.

2. During the darkest days of the Cold War, Smith Act, and anti-Communist hysteria there were Communist book stores and Marxist books were easily acquired

3. The Anarchist Cookbook is banned in some countries and folks have been prosecuted for possessing it in the UK. One may purchase it on Amazon - I urge you to check out some of the books available in that category.

For all practical purposes you can't ban books in the United States. Something would have to rise to the level of child pornography.

Too often the so called "analyses" on advocacy sites are poorly done. I just read one on Reason that took an Illinois town to task for passing an ordinance that banned assault rifles that the writer asserted would also ban a popular type of .22 rim-fire rifle. The writer clearly hadn't bothered to read the text of the ordinance as it specifically exempted that very type of rifle.

California is hardly alone:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lgbt-conversion-therapy-is-dying-a-quick-death-across-america-good?ref=home

"...I will purchase my tickets for either ice skating on hell's rink or watching flying pig races in Modesto."

Conversion therapy isn't being banned out of political correctness. It's because experience has shown it to be overwhelmingly harmful. That's why professional associations are against it. Putting a teenager on hormones after one visit is going to blow up in those therapists faces. Dealing with conversion therapy didn't happen overnight but it is happening. Ditto soon for hasty diagnoses on late onset trans. Enjoy your trip to Modesto but given the heat in the Central Valley you will likely also think yourself in Hell.

I assume that any legal cases that may arise would have to resolve the possible tension between "efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex" and "identity exploration and development." Cases clarify.

How comforting. Pay no attention to that chilling effect behind the curtain.

One may purchase books advocating all manner of cures for cancer that would cost a doctor his license and wealth were he to use them on patients. Nothing stops individuals from DIY.

But God help you in California if you run a seminar or conference for which you charge a fee in which you *recommend* a book that purports to offer help for "changing sexual orientation" or have a table at the back that offers such books for sale. Or, possibly, require it as a textbook for a class.

I, too, suspect that the first efforts at least would focus not so much on banning the books directly as on banning activity or statements that *recommend* such books or (in an academic setting) require them as reading. Why, if the person engaging in the recommendation agrees with the books, should they not be regarded as "sexual orientation change efforts"? The text of the law states:


“Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation.

This is extremely broad language. I note that the definition is not confined to actions by doctors or licensed counselors, and the threat is prosecution for consumer fraud.

From the California Constitution:

"Section 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

(Sec. 1 added Nov. 5, 1974, by Proposition 7. Resolution Chapter 90, 1974.)

"SEC. 2. (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press."

"and the threat is prosecution for consumer fraud."

You can't ban books in California and the relevant Act is in the Civil Code not the Penal Code or the Business and Professions Code. An individual has to have engaged in a transaction, suffered an injury, engage an attorney, and go to court. There is a three year limit to bring an action.

As I mentioned above there are defenses and a person who was in therapy would have to open up their personal life to make a case, so that would seem "chilling" from the other side.

I'm not sure how some snowflake of a student would demonstrate that they were harmed by being assigned a book - trigger warnings, I don't think so. Besides, professional groups consider conversion therapy to be quackery so it's not likely to be part of any curriculum.

Lydia, this is why I believe the abuses around late onset trans issues are a time bomb. All it is going to take is a screwed up kid, and an aggressive trial lawyer.

"and the threat is prosecution for consumer fraud."

"CONSUMERS LEGAL REMEDIES ACT "

"CHAPTER 4. Remedies and Procedures"

"(a) Any consumer who suffers any damage as a result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful by Section 1770 may bring an action..."

David French, who actually is a lawyer, weighs in:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/california-progressives-launch-another-attack-on-free-speech/

As French points out:

Yes, ban the sale of books.

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an “unlawful business practice” to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

The bill then defines “sexual orientations change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”...No one doubts that Christian orthodoxy is contentious. No one doubts that its teachings on sexual morality are increasingly unpopular. But they remain constitutionally protected, and no state legislature should be permitted to ban a “good” (such as a book) or a “service” (like counseling) that makes these arguments and provides them to willing, consenting consumers.

What the bill deems as "unlawful business practice" includes the sale of goods as well as services where these goods advertise or engage in efforts to change sexual behaviors.

Actually French kicks things up a notch:

"Put another way, there is a fundamental difference between temptation and sin. California law would intrude directly on this teaching by prohibiting even the argument that regardless of sexual desire, a person’s sexual behavior should conform to Biblical standards."

Either he has never read the proposed law or he is simply lying. My guess is that he is relying on another "analysis" and hasn't bothered to read the text and doesn't understand that the law is part of the Civil Code and all the law does is facilitate a consumer who believes herself harmed having civil remedies.

"Under AB 2943, the very act of communicating this truthful and indeed hopeful message could very well lead to legal jeopardy. This is extraordinary."

His comment on the trans issue is simply wrong (again he likely hasn't read the bill). Merely informing and providing a teen with information that most late onset issues resolve to birth gender is clearly protected under (f) (2) at a minimum as part of "exploration". In fact I would think that failing to neutrally inform a client of all relevant facts would be problematic.

I understand that you resonate with his radical view of religious liberty as far as Christianity goes (I doubt that you agree with FGM and arranged child marriages or stoning blasphemers) but out here protecting consumers from fraudulent and apparently harmful practices is sort of mainstream.

BTW, apologies if I missed something but the only objections to the bill seem to be grounded in theology and caveat emptor libertarianism. Where are the peer reviewed studies refuting the findings of the legislatures of the states that have proscribed gender conversion therapy and the professional associations that find it unproductive at best and possibly harmful. All I saw was some hand waving by one group.

Tony, with all respect, you are really confused about all this. Anyway there is a well known film on that topic which was based on real events that happened back in the 1970s. Back in the day I knew a couple like that so it's a thing - just doesn't quite work like your example.

Any cases such as you hypothesize will likely be resolved with a reply similar to the one in Lydia's link - "Asked about the possibility of “getting rid of it completely,” Mr. Wiertzema replied that some people had, but that for others homosexuality simply “becomes manageable.”

Al, maybe I am dense or something, but I can't locate any actual response to my point in all that. A man who is attracted to men, who asks to have his organs replaced with some female similacra thereof, (all else remaining the same) will become a woman attracted to men. The treatment will the effect of turning a gay person into a heterosexual. How is that not against the proposed law? The fact that "it happened" back in the 70's doesn't say in the least whether "it happening" now would be a violation of the law.

For an interesting side-light, try these two websites that speak to "conversion" therapy.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-coffin/gay-conversion-therapy_b_1950880.html

https://www.wired.com/2015/06/big-problem-outlawing-gender-conversion-therapies/

The first is hilarious, in that they are completely oblivious to the meaning of "conversion" being that of Christian conversion: turning to the Lord. Not turning into a heterosexual. And ignorant of the Catholic meaning of reparation, meaning (morally) making up for past wrong actions done, not "repair" of a person's gender identity or attraction. Hooo boooy.

The second is an interesting take on an LQTXNKVD activist's opposition to laws demanding "no change therapy".

Another problem is that because there is no adequate definition of any of the terms or realities in play, there cannot be adequate protection from stupid enforcement. One person's "gender" is another person's favorite ice cream flavor. One person's actions in "gender expression" as "male" can be another person's very same actions in gender expression as female. Or neuter. Or whatever. You can't prove otherwise. Because (according to the theory) some people who have a vagina are women and some are men, (and some, other), and likewise some women have a vagina and some have a penis, you can't designate ANY action as being an action that "expresses" an identity specifically of "woman" rather than "man" (or any of the other 71 flavors): some women speak softly, some men do. Some women wear dresses, some men do. Some women wear lipstick, some men do. Some women wear their hair long, some men do. And so on. So calling the behaviors of speaking softly, wearing dresses and lipstick and long hair as "expressing" a female identity is offensive to the men who do those things.

Because actively trying to persuade someone to stop having gay sex or not to undergo radical surgery to remove his genitalia because he feels like a woman, in any context where money changes hands, is *totally* just mainstream "protecting consumers against fraudulent practices." Totally. Laws against having a traditional moral opinion and engaging in persuasion in the direction of that opinion and taking a fee (y'know, like if you're running a conference or a counseling service) could only be objected to by a radical libertarian.

For Al, there is always "nothing to see here, folks." I really can't help wondering if there's anything he couldn't convince himself was "nothing to see here." I suppose in a few years or so when it's free pastoral counseling being criminalized, with jail sentences, then he'll just tell us it's still a "harmful practice" and that only a religious zealot could object to dragging the pastor off to prison.

I think the lack of adequate definitions is probably seen as a feature and not a bug. The point seems to get the belief that LGBT identities are one's most true identity and one ought to live in Accord with them free of all disagreement established in law. This is about establishing a religion and theocratic governing in the name of doing neither.

I believe another of these proposed laws is about ensuring all foster kids have access to so called gender affirmation treatments. Much like it is easy to see the next step being a ban on free counseling services, even done by pastors, it is also easy to see the next step with respect to hard law being all children.

Reassurances from the past when out of favor ideas and books were not banned is valid and worth taking note of, yet the sexual revolution is it's own beast. It does not seem to follow the same rules of tolerance. Heck, it has redefined tolerance entirely.

You can't ban books in California and the relevant Act is in the Civil Code not the Penal Code or the Business and Professions Code. An individual has to have engaged in a transaction, suffered an injury, engage an attorney, and go to court. There is a three year limit to bring an action.

Ha ha ha, that's very funny. I seem to recall a Supreme Court dictum that to strangle payment for speech is to strangle speech. Johnson said No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money. But OH YES, you can have a book that says these things. You can even write and print (yourself) such books - but TRANSACTING with them is altogether different, and comes under business and professions code, and is subject to the penal code. As for "suffering an injury", the state of the "profession" has just DEFINED the activity as harmful per se, you don't have to establish a distinct injury beyond having suffered the counseling or therapy. And there are now plenty of lawyers who will take cases like this for contingency fees, as well as some who will do it pro bono.

I note Al's implication that any counselor who has a perspective of his own on a given issue and on what his client *should* do is ipso facto a bad counselor. No doubt now that I've brought this up Al will point to the obvious psychiatric malpractice with Lisa Miller in which her counselors pushed on her the idea that she was lesbian and literally suggested that she get involved in lesbian relationships even though she'd never had such attractions. Al and I agree that this was bad psychiatric practice, but I do not agree with it merely because the psychiatrists in question had an actual opinion on what the state of affairs was and suggested this opinion to Lisa! The idea that a real counselor never pushes any opinion of his own is itself a poor model of counseling.

Compare

A: A patient consults a counselor about depression and pays the counselor (or his insurance pays). The counselor discovers that the patient has a cocaine addiction. The counselor suggests repeatedly that the patient should get help for and try to resolve his cocaine addiction and suggests that this may be one part of his problem.

B: A patient consults a counselor about depression and pays the counselor (or his insurance pays). The counselor discovers that the patient has no substance abuse problems whatsoever. But at that time it has become a new psychiatric fad to think that a cocaine addiction will help patients. So the psychiatrist suggests repeatedly that the patient begin taking cocaine regularly and even develop a dependence on it, as this may be just what he needs and lift him out of his depression.

Both counselors have a strong opinion--one can call this an "agenda" if one wishes. But counselor A is doing a good job and giving helpful counseling. Counselor B is engaging in malpractice under the influence of a delusional fad. The problem is not that both counselors are failing to be neutral about what is best for the patient and are not merely guiding the patient to "discover his own goals," etc.

Well I see Dreher has jumped on the bandwagon. It is clear, once again, that neither Dreher or his commenters have actually read the bill and the underlying law. I hope you all understand that underlying all this is Movement Conservatism's eternal need to keep the rank and file riled up and voting against their actual interests.

Anyway, Lydia your example fails as there is no parallel between being gay or trans and being addicted to some substance.

"but TRANSACTING with them is altogether different, and comes under business and professions code, and is subject to the penal code."

Tony, what does that even mean?

"As for "suffering an injury", the state of the "profession" has just DEFINED the activity as harmful per se, you don't have to establish a distinct injury beyond having suffered the counseling or therapy."

Tony, that is the whole purpose of the Act. Actual damages beyond expenditures would still have to be proved.

BTW, "(28) Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual" is defined as: "'Sexual orientation change efforts' means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."

I don't see books or any goods for that matter mentioned in the definition of the practices or efforts as part of the definition. The exclusion in (2) mentions only "psychotherapies". The Act covers a variety of matters some of which include "goods", some of which include "services", and some of which include both. I believe it is safe to assume that if the legislature meant books that deal with changing ones gender or sexual orientation they would have included that in the definition of what constitutes "sexual orientation change efforts. That would, of course, be unconstitutional.

One can't read the minds of Sharp, French, etc. but one often sees this sort of ideologically self-serving extrapolation on the political fringes. A moments thought should be enough to figure out that you can't ban books in the United states or California.

" I suppose in a few years or so when it's free pastoral counseling being criminalized, with jail sentences, then he'll just tell us it's still a "harmful practice" and that only a religious zealot could object to dragging the pastor off to prison."

Perhaps slippery slope arguments should be added to Godwin's law.

" The treatment will the effect of turning a gay person into a heterosexual."

Not if you subscribe to the views of certain feminists. As far as I'm concerned there was a person presenting as a male who was sexually attracted to males who now presents as a female who is sexually attracted to males. Your labels are irrelevant. The Theology of the Body and Natural Law are meaningful to those for whom they are meaningful but that's not everyone.


I have a great idea. Let's have Al and all the "it will never happen" crowd start a trust fund or something of that kind in which they put away money. Then when the first conference coordinator or speaker is sued for taking fees for advocating that people stop engaging in homosexual activities, stop identifying themselves with their homosexual feelings, not transition, and so forth, or when they are sued for selling books that do so at the book table at the back of the conference hall, or anything else that Al and co. said will never happen, Al and co. can pay the defendents' legal fees.

Meanwhile, I note that Al is totally on-board with suing the heck out of any counselor-for-a-fee that advocates to his self-identified homosexual or transgender patients a traditional viewpoint on gender and sexuality as a way to help them with their problems.

Anyway, Lydia your example fails as there is no parallel between being gay or trans and being addicted to some substance.

So you see, truth matters. Because I happen to think there is. In any event, I'm glad to see that you agree that the problem is not, per se, with counseling that has a so-called "agenda" (that is, where the counselor doesn't simply facilitate self-exploration but actually advocates a particular course of action for the client) but rather depends upon whether the behaviors in question are, in fact, harmful and whether what the counselor is telling the client is true or not about what is good for the client.

Which is precisely why I don't think counselors are committing fraud of any kind by telling their patients to stop having gay sex, not to have their genitalia cut off, to love the bodies they were born with (as in Nancy Pearcey's new book _Love Thy Body_) and to act in accordance with the teleology of those bodies rather than being at war with it. Because I think that will actually help people.

This has nothing to do with studies on whether some particular set of aversion therapy exercises helps people. I'm talking about *in general* advocating traditional sexual views and monogamous, heterosexual behavior (and chastity for those who are single) as helpful, as part of counseling.

And of course arguing for fraud is a step yet further. The idea that a counselor who vigorously advocates traditional morality and views of sexuality and actions based on those views as being good for the client is not simply mistaken (in the view of the left) but *committing fraud* is frankly insane and extreme. Al's attempts to portray the fraud designation and encouragement of litigation based on fraud claims as mainstream, all in a day's work, to which only an extreme libertarian could be opposed, are laughable.

Induction in politics based on the unmistakable opinions and goals of one's political opponents is not a fallacy. Indeed, if you'd told anybody twenty years ago that bakers would get fined out of business for refusing to bake gay "wedding" cakes, that would have been called a "slippery slope" argument too. Yet here we are. The law of deserved impossibility strikes again.

I've been thinking it might be good for prominent Christians, particularly those who have already publically spoken on these issues (like Ryan T Anderson) to organize a conference in California if this law passes. Advertize it and have paid admission open to the public. Make a point to cover topics such as Christ's power to rescue people from homosexual sin. Sell books, like Nancy Pearcys "Love They Body". Last and not least, be defiant, acknowledge the law and declare it will not be followed and punishment will not be accepted..i.e. like Jordan Peterson who says he will not pay a fine and will go on a hunger strike if jailed.

Repeat said conference as long law is in effect.

In short, treat the law as an invitation to civil disobedience. Call their bluff, make it unenforceable.

I agree that at *least* that aspect/interpretation of the law should simply be ignored in practice, and let's see what happens. And perhaps it will be. Though unfortunately there will be no trust fund to pay legal expenses if/when lawsuits are brought. And it may be hard to find venues in which to carry out such experiments.

What will be harder still is for counselors, especially those with a license, to challenge it. Indeed, even the "nothing like that will happen" folks are absolutely open that counseling based on an "agenda" of normal sexuality will be outlawed. After all, such counselors will be individuals and will stand to lose their licenses and a great deal of money in lawsuits. And the law against their terrible activities of advocating that people actually love their bodies is unequivocal by agreement all around. Moreover, the court precedents there are not something to be sanguine about. A ban on such counseling for minors has already been upheld in California, and the lawsuit against JONAH in New York (if I have the state correct) was upheld.

Ah, yes, and then there was the time when Al actually *argued* that it was *perfectly fine* for pastors to get in trouble for counseling if they "held themselves out" as operating as licensed counselors. He called this "using the license to their advantage."

http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2016/08/california_never_quits.html

But it'll never happen.

I've been thinking it might be good for prominent Christians, particularly those who have already publically spoken on these issues (like Ryan T Anderson) to organize a conference in California if this law passes. Advertize it and have paid admission open to the public.

Heh, I am curious: if one starts a non-profit corporation for the specific purpose of such a conference, and then disbands it after the conference, is it the corporation that is on the hook for the penalties? Might be worth trying. The corp, as a non-profit, has sales and stuff, but the sales are all geared to expenses, and there is nothing left over as profit (of course).

http://blog.independent.org/2018/04/19/california-threatens-free-speech-with-ab-2943/

"Putting aside policy arguments on whether conversion therapy good, bad, etc., it is very likely that this statute will have a much broader application. Under state case law, “the language used in a statute or constitutional provision should be given its ordinary meaning, and ‘[i]f the language is clear and unambiguous there is no need for construction, nor is it necessary to resort to indicia of the intent of the Legislature (in the case of a statute).” People v. Valencia, 3 Cal. 5th 347, 357, 397 P.3d 936, 944 (2017), reh’g denied (Aug. 30, 2017)"

If this guy is right, the plain meaning trumps legislative intent. That makes this law all the more ominous to me.

I'm still clear if individual intent matters. Is it not a violation of the to just sell a book that explains why people should not engage in homosexual behavior if you don't personally intend any particular purchaser to change their behavior? In other words, you don't tell them this book can help them change their behavior.

Lastly, are there parallels between this law and the crisis pregnancy center law now being reviewed by the Supreme Court? I'm asking because the result of that case may then indicate what the Supreme Court will say about this law. If I understand it right this law falls under consumer fraud protections. If so, if the state can regulate claims about weight loss treatments can it also regulate claims about "sexual orientation change treatments" as defined in 2943? All in all this is starting to look more like an effort to ban "hate speech" under a different name and in a category more likely to pass in courts (were not banning speech, we are protecting consumers from fraud).

I'm still clear if individual intent matters. Is it not a violation of the to just sell a book that explains why people should not engage in homosexual behavior if you don't personally intend any particular purchaser to change their behavior? In other words, you don't tell them this book can help them change their behavior.

I would be that they'd at least start by suing people who did make statements--such as in a conference presentation--that people ought to change their behavior, would be better off for changing their behavior, etc.

Lastly, are there parallels between this law and the crisis pregnancy center law now being reviewed by the Supreme Court? I'm asking because the result of that case may then indicate what the Supreme Court will say about this law.

Only sort of. The biggest issue is severability in both cases. My worry in both cases is that they will overturn in part and uphold in part. In the CPC case they may overturn the part about putting disclaimers on all advertising (which would fill up advertising space) and uphold the part about having to put a notice on the wall with a phone number for getting an abortion. Kennedy seemed in oral arguments more opposed to the former than the latter.

My severability predictions on the "orientation change" law are given in the main post.

All in all this is starting to look more like an effort to ban "hate speech" under a different name and in a category more likely to pass in courts (were not banning speech, we are protecting consumers from fraud).

Yes, that's undeniably so, and will be pushed to the limit.

Al's fidelity to the strict construction of the statute would almost be admirable were it not so hilariously cynical.

The weirder part is why he persists with this stuff. His basic argument here is "I've read the statute and it doesn't do anything." Kind of impressive in its terse incoherence.

One of the regular enterprises of the American Left right now (especially Leftists freebasing on sanctimony) is punitive raids against holdout Christians who agree with St. Paul on sexual ethics. These people fantasize in public about expropriating Catholic soup kitchens. American urban centers would be so much better without those nuns who disapprove of faddish variations on fornication.

But Al assures us that none of that bizarre animus entered the pure hearts and angelic minds of California legislators. They were truly appalled by the flood of Christian quacks, taking PhDs in therapy and agitating the streets of California cities with fraudulent methods of counselling. Between Deadheads and charlatan Nazarene psychoanalysts, you can hardly move on Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

It's very odd behavior by Al. Does he suppose his cut-rate gaslighting works on anybody?

I would add that it is bizarre that it is California, of all places, which sees fit to bar this "weird" cult notion of morality (the Christian one): California the land of fruits, nuts, and flakes. The land of more weird religions than anywhere. The land of the cults, where Hare Krishnas, Scientology, and Charles Mansons easily could gain followers. The land that spawned or gave home to New Age, spiritualism, "metaphysical religion", and every other made-up-on-the-back-of-an-envelope religious idea.

But of course it isn't bizarre at all: all of that pursuit of everything BUT Christ is a determined effort to insist that Christ is not the answer, something else MUST be, and by golly we're going to find something else no matter where it takes us.

This bill has been sagely called the "You Must Stay Gay" bill. I think that's particularly appropriate, as it focuses on what even the "nothing to see here folks" *admit* is the purpose of the law--to ban "orientation change efforts" on the part of therapists.

And how does "you must stay gay" really differ from "you must stay a muslim"? I guess at least that don't kill converts. Otherwise,seems like the same kind of thinking.

We thank Lydia for providing us with a case study in how you all on the right are being played. Read the graph from LSN:

"April 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a brazen assault on our most fundamental freedoms, California legislators are considering a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to receive professional help to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion. This would apply to people of all ages. People of all religious and moral convictions. It is an absolute outrage, and it must be opposed vigorously."

Now read the definition in the bill:

"(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation."

Now note how the bill is described as "you must stay gay" and how LSN seem to equate "resolve" with "change". Your toleration of this slight of hand is how we went from Weaver to Bannon in three generations. It is also how things can go from Martov to Stalin in one.

Surely you all recall how the whole "pray away the gay" thing blew up in your faces. You all persist in treating orientation as purely a matter of choice that can be changed by hectoring and prayer. All legislation like this does is recognize that experience has demonstrated that attempting to change ones sexual orientation is likely to be ineffective and even harmful and therefore facially fraudulent and a proper subject of legislation

Under the proposed law anyone conflicted over their sexual orientation is free to seek professional help. One can't open a cancer clinic and peddle laetrile without consequences, ditto a business venture purporting to change sexual orientation. Invoking St. Paul is no defense against fraudulent activities.

Al, did you even *notice* the word "and" in your own quotation? "and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation."" And did you notice the "sexual orientation neutral" phrase? And did you notice where the law defines "change efforts" incredibly broadly?

Any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.
So *even if* some therapist presented himself as providing support for "identity exploration and development," and even if the client requested help in ceasing to engage in homosexual behaviors, if the therapist were *seeking to change sexual orientation* (including behaviors), and if his counseling were not "neutral" as regards the naturalness of homosexuality, his practice would be considered a form of consumer fraud.

If someone is trying to "play" conservatives here, it's you.

He's just not doing a very good job.

That said, I suppose it is possible that Al truly does have no experience at all with people afflicted by desires and passions (sexual or otherwise) they want relief from. It's possible he's truly that naive and has lived a life wholly innocent of men and women brought to ruin by indulging their urges.

I suppose it's also possible that Al has not reflected on the contradictions imposed by recent advances of the sexual vanguard. Maybe he's forgotten that Dianne Feinstein is no longer Mayor of San Francisco but rather a senior US Senator. But here is the new orthodoxy in how sexual facts in humans may change: A male whose every cell in his body contains a Y chromosome can lawfully become a female, and no one may say him nay, but "experience has demonstrated" that sexual orientation cannot change. (In fact experience has demonstrated nothing of the sort, and extensive evidence exists suggesting that fluidity is the norm on sexual orientation, especially early in life, with longitudinal studies concluding that as many as half of adolescents who report homosexual urges no longer do as adults.)

This level of ingenuousness is possible, but quite unlikely. On the other hand, I find it entirely plausible that Al is so ignorant of St. Paul (all of whose surviving writings amount to a moderate-length novel) that he actually thinks "pray away the gay" provides a workable summary of the Pauline understanding of sin.

The law is so facially sweeping as regards personal "orientation change efforts" that one doesn't even need to think too much about any kind of hidden intent of the legislature. It's all right out there on the face of it: *All* activities to change orientation (and by the way, we mean *behavior* by orientation, so don't try to wriggle out of it that way, traditionalists) where goods or services are exchanged, are ipso facto fraudulent! It's bald-faced in its attempt to make all attempts at persuasion, where money changes hands, into illegal business practice. There is *no* exception for a client who seeks the counseling service willingly. There is *no* restriction to some narrow, arcane, specific set of weird therapies. Nothing of the kind. It isn't even restricted to therapists at all.

This makes Al's pretense that this is nothing to see and that it is just outlawing the sale of some specific therapies that are provably the psychological equivalent to snake-oil completely laughable.

Lydia, yes, yes, and yes. Perhaps a good analogy is if a person employs a fitness trainer or a nutritionist and seeks to push his body beyond its natural limits. Diet and exercise can do only so much and a person bent on exceeding those limits would be ill served if the pro he employed provided steroids, etc.. The pro would also be breaking the law.

You seem to be unable to grasp the concept that perhaps your model is gravely flawed. Consider, just for a moment, that even if your theology is right in its view of same sex relationships, the science might, at this time, also be correct and that the risks of attempting to change orientation far outweigh the moral upside of that level of intervention.

Nothing in the law prevents a person in therapy from forming his own conclusions and I would venture that that is the only way your desired outcome is going to be achieved. I would expect that an ethical and competent professional would recognize that some folks would be better served by also or alternatively seeking a competent spiritual advisor.

Going back to your coke addicted client model, I would suggest that therapy isn't hectoring. At some point the ethical thing is to realize that the client/therapist relationship isn't working and end the situation. Therapy also isn't evangelism and pushing the view of homosexuality as an abnormality is that.

" On the other hand, I find it entirely plausible that Al is so ignorant of St. Paul (all of whose surviving writings amount to a moderate-length novel) that he actually thinks "pray away the gay" provides a workable summary of the Pauline understanding of sin."

No, I consider that PAG is a workable summary of you alls approach.

Putting aside your conflating sexual orientation and gender identity, I am aware that a certain fluidity exists and and distress is often the result. There is nothing in the law that prevents a therapist from pointing out that fluidity and discussing it. There is also nothing in the law preventing such a discussion re: gender.

What the law does is address the likely harm resulting when the therapist has an agenda. As with our friend Lydia I would ask you to at least consider that, given the present state of therapeutic knowledge, a frank and neutral discussion with a motivated client is likely to lead the the best outcomes.

" The land that spawned or gave home to New Age, spiritualism, "metaphysical religion", and every other made-up-on-the-back-of-an-envelope religious idea. "

Tony, I get that haters gonna hate but really? I do have to note that you left out lecherous priests - oh, but that was a worldwide thing - and snake handlers in every holler - oh, but that's not in California. Scientology is interesting - the fascist temptation is sort of wired into we plains apes. I actually had a disturbing encounter with Charlie back in the day.

For your consideration re: California.

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/04/raw-data-the-worse-a-state-does-on-improving-health-the-better-it-is-for-trump/

You seem to be unable to grasp the concept that perhaps your model is gravely flawed. Consider, just for a moment, that even if your theology is right in its view of same sex relationships, the science might, at this time, also be correct and that the risks of attempting to change orientation far outweigh the moral upside of that level of intervention.

When one realizes that *behavior* is included in "orientation," this amounts to the idea that even trying to abstain from sex is intrinsically harmful.

It's like a new taboo. In the old days they told people that self-stimulation would make them blind. Is the new idea that attempting chastity makes you crazy?

Tell that to all the heterosexuals who have never gotten married and who are also trying to (and even succeeding in) remaining chaste. Maybe they're gonna go blind too. You never know what risks you could be taking by not having sex!

Or is it okay for heterosexuals to try to change any inclination they might have toward fornicating and it's only if homosexuals try to remain celibate that they explode or start to hear voices in their heads or something?

Oh, newsflash, Al: It's also part of the idea that this isn't just a *moral* upside. The way the human person is constituted, the idea is that the gay lifestyle is positively harmful. Ask Joseph Sciambra all the wonderful goodness he got out of the years when he wasn't changing his "orientation" and about all the "harm" he's had since leaving the lifestyle.

But thanks for your virtual admission that you *realize* how sweeping this is, that it *isn't* just some narrow set of therapies being banned but all attempts to help a client leave the gay lifestyle or all attempts to persuade a gender-confused client not to have his genitalia cut off, etc.

Guess what? That's a big deal.

the risks of attempting to change orientation far outweigh the moral upside of that level of intervention

Said the guy who's perfectly okay with amputating functional organs because reasons. And not okay with recommending against reckless sex adventurism because reasons.

As with our friend Lydia I would ask you to at least consider that . . .

To be clear: Lydia is my friend; you are not.

That said, I strongly suspect that, were you my neighbor in the hills west of the great city of Atlanta, I would think pretty highly of you.

But I drive into downtown ATL 7 out of 10 ten days and have for 15 years. I work in this town and see it's misery. This odd idea that everyone here is a cloistered nun wears thins.

The facts are these. Your side wants to make public activity harder for some of the folks who care about city misery (or any misery that arises out of disordered human urges) and work to alleviate it. This piece of petty tyranny does not bother you, and in unguarded moments you thrill to it. So you're in complete disagreement with everyone here and generally incapable of rendering our view with even a modicum of accuracy. "You all persist in treating orientation as purely a matter of choice that can be changed by hectoring and prayer." Right, Al, you know exactly how I interact with such folks whose lifestyle I disagree with.

Again, you're probably an American patriot and all-around solid citizen. But as a commenter you're a waste of time. It's open comments here at his tiny blog but I'd just ask you to move on. Why are you commenting here? Can I just ask you, with best wishes, to leave?

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