The California Legislature has passed a resolution blaming religious leaders and groups that support sexual orientation change efforts therapies for the suicides and attempted suicides of those who identify as LGBT.
In a party-line vote last week, the state Senate approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99, which demands that people of faith in the state change their approach to ministering to same-sex attracted men and women and others who identify as LGBT.
The resolution, though nonbinding, was sponsored by Democratic state Assemblyman Evan Low of San Jose. The text of ACR-99 criticizes pastors, counselors, and other religious ministers helping those who are struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion. The resolution calls religious views about sexual ethics that do not affirm LGBT identities “stigmatizing beliefs” that contribute to depression and suicide.
The measure comes just over a year after AB 2943, legislation also brought forward by Low, would have categorized such counseling options as “consumer fraud.” The legislation had been approved by both chambers and was headed to the governor’s desk for signature before Low ultimately withdrew it amid public outcry.
Since ACR-99 is a resolution, it requires no signature from the governor.
Supporters of the resolution assert that religious liberty does not apply here as it amounts to discrimination. They also argue that such counseling from faith-based groups is “psychological torture” and “mental health malpractice.”
“Until recently, the interpretation of the First Amendment was that one religion could not impose itself on other religions,” said Democratic state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara. That “one should have religious freedom to discriminate against others is a relatively new concept,” she added.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter