California lawmakers are calling upon all Californians—despite religious beliefs—to embrace LGBTQ lifestyles.
The state Senate recently followed the state Assembly in passing a resolution demanding a change in the way people of faith approach ministry to same sex-attracted men and women and others who identify as LGBT.
The resolution, ACR99, was introduced by San Jose Assemblyman Evan Low. As a resolution, the measure does not require the governor’s signature and does not have the force of a law. Still, it treads into free speech territory.
The text of the resolution describes religious views that fail to affirm LGBT identities and behavior as “stigmatizing beliefs,” beliefs responsible for “disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, depression, rejection, and isolation.”
ACR99 also condemns conversion therapy, a type of counseling for unwanted same sex attraction or gender confusion, calling it “ineffective, unethical, and harmful.”
Some Christian leaders and pastors fear this resolution is just the beginning of infringements on freedom of speech in favor of LGBTQ affirmation.
Republican state Senator Andreas Borgeas, warns that, “To disallow or create the pathway where we tell individuals they cannot say certain things should give us pause.”
Russell Willingham, executive director of Fresno-based New Creation Ministries, said, “I believe ACR99 sets the stage for future laws that will criminalize pastor caregivers like me who provide such a resource—resources that offer an option for those who don’t want what the state is telling them they must accept.”
Supporters of the resolution maintain that religious liberty does not apply to those offering help for unwanted same-sex attraction. Instead, they say, their form of therapy amounts to discrimination.
Chai Feldblum served on the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, during the Obama years. Of concerns for religious liberty in hiring decisions, she famously wrote, “Gays win; Christians lose.” California seems to be applying this principle to Christian ministry and therapy.
This resolution is non-binding, but coercive. The question is: what’s next?