California Bill Would Ban the Bible-Disputed!
Summary of eRumor:
A California bill banning gay conversion therapy on all citizens would essentially ban the Bible.
California Assembly Bill 2943 aims to ban the advertising or sale of gay conversion therapy as a commercial service. The bill’s purpose isn’t to “ban the Bible.” But unclear language has led to questions about how much it could restrict commercial speech, and claims that it would ban the Bible.
Those questions came to a head in an exchange an One America News Network (OANN). “Tipping Point” host Liz Wheeler asked California state Rep. Travis Allen, a Republican from Orange County, if AB 2943 would “essentially criminalize religious beliefs” and “would this prohibit the sale of the Bible.” Allen replied, “Literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would.” But it’s not clear if that’s the case or not.
First, we’ll back up to provide a little context. AB 2943 would expand a standing California law that bans the use of “sexual orientation change efforts” for children. Adopted in 2012, Senate Bill 1172 banned “sexual orientation change efforts” and “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
AB 2943 would go a step further. It would extend the ban to “all persons, regardless of age.” It would also prohibit gay conversion therapy as a commercial service. And, most controversially, it would prohibit the “advertising and offering” of sexual orientation change efforts. The advertising provision, Allen and other critics argue, could lead to a ban the Bible.
Again, the bill doesn’t name or single out the Bible. It’s purpose isn’t to ban it. Even Allen appears to acknowledge this by uttering the qualifier “according to how this law is written” before making that claim. And a legislative analysis cites provisions of the law that are “somewhat unclear” in terms of how it would impact commercial speech, according to a document produced by the Assembly Judiciary Committee:
The analysis suggests that the author may wish to clarify, perhaps in one or more other code sections, that SOCE itself is unlawful. If that were the case, then the bill’s proposed amendments to prohibit advertising or offering SOCE, would be even more closely tailored to the bill’s goals and there would be an even stronger argument that the bill does not restrict commercial speech in an unconstitutional manner.
Given uncertainty about the true impact of the law, we’re calling claims that a California bill would ban the Bible “disputed.”