California’s 2018 legislative deadline ended on October 1. And, even though past years have produced laws requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs advertising for abortion and allowing boys and girls to share the same restrooms, the bills that came out of the 2018 session were some of the most pro-LGBT, pro-abortion, anti-traditional family and anti-religious liberty bills yet. Some bills that either did not make it to the governor’s desk or were thankfully vetoed would have:
- Required UCs with health centers to provide chemical abortions.
- Created resolutions honoring Planned Parenthood and establishing June as LGBT Pride Month.
- Established a committee to research additional requirements for home schools.
- Added gender identity and expression rights for minors in foster care.
- Required LGBT sensitivity training for teachers and peace officers.
But, the mother of them all had to be AB 2943. Had it become law, Pastor Jim Domen, founder of Orange County based, Church United, would have been one of Advocates for Faith & Freedom’s plaintiffs against the mandate. This month’s newsletter features an edited version of Pastor Domen’s opinion editorial article.
In June 2018 I walked up to Assemblyman Evan Low, D-San Jose, and introduced myself as Pastor Jim Domen, a former homosexual who was transformed and now lives a life of heterosexuality. We both smiled and he said, “You’re about to see democracy in action.”
We were standing in the front row of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was there to present Assembly Bill 2943, which would ban “services constituting sexual orientation change efforts,” including therapy by licensed psychotherapists. I was there as an expert witness in opposition.
I noticed the state flag in the Capitol building read, “California Republic.” A Republic protects a minority’s inalienable rights. They cannot be taken away by government—especially not by a majority.
This is the case with AB 2943. The majority of California’s Legislators are Democrats who wholeheartedly embrace the pro-LGBTQ+ agenda. I have an incomprehensible love and compassion for my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. I have dedicated my life to ministering among them and bringing them closer to Christ.
On that day, the Committee ignored my testimony, as well as over 500 California citizens, including pastors, who testified in opposition, and passed the bill. A Senate staffer later told me, “That’s the longest line of opposition testimony I’ve ever experienced in my 14 years at the Capitol.”
What I objected to was the legislators’ attempt to remove essential tools for psychological therapy (applied to any number of sexual issues), and to infringe upon individual rights by specifically targeting a super-minority: “Formers,” the name given to former homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, gender-confused and those that were same-sex attracted.
Much of the opposition focused on threats to religious liberty. That threat was real. AB 2943 put a cloud over proper, legal and regulated therapeutic remedies by licensed professionals. The bill would have also removed individuals’ rights and targeted Formers by severely limiting speech and expression of thought.
Before voting, the Committee was visited by over 40 Formers who shared testimonies of successful sexual orientation change. Outside the Capitol, what the Committee did not hear, was two hours of painful, public testimonies filled with stories of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and stories of heinous sexual abuses committed against almost all the 40 Formers. Their change was real and this bill would have hurt those who sought to change their lives under the guidance of a licensed professional therapist.
Despite the 5-2 committee vote approving the bill, I am thankful for AB 2943. It has hit a nerve. Government has extended its reach too far. And, I am grateful it was pulled by Assembly Member Low before it had a chance to pass the full legislature.
Evan Low, you’ve awakened a compassionate giant, willing to contend for our God-given rights.
Thankfully AB 2943 and several other laws did not get passed because of the hard work of our client Jim Domen, our attorneys, and everyone who joined us in opposing the bills. However, many of these bills and more bills will reappear in the 2018-2019 legislative session, and we need to be ready to fight against them.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom is grateful for your prayers and your donations of support that enable us to continue to protect the rights of all who wish to freely practice their Christian faith.
In His Service,