Will California’s new consumer fraud bill give the state the power to ban books? Yes, says David French:
Scroll down through the list of dozens of prohibited acts, and you’ll come to paragraph 28, which bans: “Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”
Wait. What? “Sexual orientation change efforts” are in the same category as consumer fraud? So, what is a sexual-orientation-change effort? According to the bill, it 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.” (Emphasis added.)
This definition is far, far broader than the traditional definition of so-called reparative therapy — the effort to change a person’s romantic feelings toward people of the same sex — it now includes efforts to change mere behavior. In other words, if for example, a sexually active gay man or woman sought counseling not to change their orientation but rather to become celibate, then the services and goods provided in that effort would violate this statute. If parents faced a child who was identifying as a person of the opposite sex, then services and goods making the argument that, for example, they should persist in calling their daughter “she” and withhold life-altering hormone treatment in part because most children exhibiting symptoms of gender dysphoria desist would violate this statute.
This is a dramatic infringement on First Amendment rights, rendered even more pernicious by its functional declaration of certain kinds of religious speech and argument as the equivalent of consumer fraud.
[David French, “Yes, California Is on the Verge of Banning Some Christian Books, Here’s How,” National Review, April 23]