CALIFORNIA: Lawmaker Pulls Ex-Gay “Fraud” Bill

The Sacramento Bee reports:

The author of a California bill to declare gay conversion therapy a fraudulent business practice has abandoned his effort for this year after a fierce outcry from the state’s religious community.

Assembly Bill 2943 would have made it illegal to sell any service intended to change an individual’s sexuality or gender identity. The measure had already passed with large majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, with overwhelming support from Democrats, and was one vote away from the governor’s desk.

But Assemblyman Evan Low said Friday that, after meeting this summer with faith leaders, he would instead try again next year with a new version of the proposal they could feel more comfortable with.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Low acknowledged his decision was unconventional, when he almost certainly had the votes to win final approval. “Some would say this is crazy,” he said. “Why would you pause when you don’t need to, when you’re in the driver’s seat?”

Low said he had no signs of opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown. Neither did Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, the LGBTQ advocacy group that co-sponsored the bill, who expressed confidence that Brown — whom he called “the most pro-LGBTQ governor in the state’s history” — would sign it.

Zbur said he believed the bill clearly would not ban the Bible or otherwise impede religious practice, as opponents had feared. Still, he said additional time would let them “tinker with the bill to make very clear that these false assertions the other side is making are not accurate.”