A group of 30 former gay and transgender people lined up at the California statehouse this week to protest Assembly Bill 2943, a proposed law that would make it a crime for religious people and organizations to try to counsel people from the LGBT community.
As Faithwire previously reported AB2943 seeks to ban materials (such as books and videos) and organized events that preach against homosexuality or transgenderism from the state. The bill prompted Christian outreach organization Summit Ministries to cancel a scheduled conference at Biola University outside of Los Angeles, as it promotes biblical views regarding marriage.
“California legislators have publicly claimed that change is impossible and those people simply don’t exist,” said a press release issued ahead of the rally, as reported by LifeSite News. “While the state celebrates those who embrace an LGBTQ+ identity, this bill will deny such choice and fluidity from anyone seeking to move in the opposite direction.”
Former gay and transgender people who have benefitted from faith-based counseling showed up at the rally Tuesday in order to prove to the state that they exist and they disagree with the new law.
“In ‘LGBTQ+’ the Q stands for ‘questioning,’” a formerly gay man pointed out, showing how hypocritical the law was. He added that it didn’t make sense that the bills states that people may question their homosexuality, but at the same time would forbid someone from doing so in any meaningful way.
“Let’s not talk out of both sides of our mouths here,” he said.
“This legislation actually takes away rights from those who are questioning their sexuality. We don’t want to see an America where the government is controlling how people identify sexually,” Ken Williams, a co-founder of Equipped to Love, said.
“Women in California, not the government, should have complete authority over their sexuality and sexual expression. We all must be empowered to choose counseling and resources that align with our personal life goals,” Elizabeth Woning, Equipped to Love‘s other co-founder, added.
Among those in attendance included survivors of the Pulse Nightclub terrorist attack that took the lives of 49 people in June 2016.
Luis Javier Cruz, a survivor of the mass shooting that the gay Orlando night club, spoke at the event, sharing how faith-based counseling led him to leave his homosexual lifestyle and embrace the biblical call to chastity.
Cruz stated that after the devastating event, he “found out that Jesus is the only man in my life who would die for me.”
“The government should not dictate to us how we choose to live our lives,” Cruz added. “If we can celebrate going in” the gay lifestyle, “we should be free to celebrate coming out of it.”
“I was shot six times. I had a shattered femur. I was told I probably wouldn’t walk again, but now I am a walking miracle,” Angel Colon, another Pulse survivor, said at the event. “While recovering in the hospital I had time to reflect. I learned about forgiveness.”
Colon said he found Jesus in the hospital and said, “Lord, I choose you. You are the only man I want to be in love with. You are the only one I want to be in a relationship with.”
“I want others to have the freedom to experience this. Vote ‘No’ for AB2943,” he added.
Other attendees explained that they were not trying to restrict the rights of individuals, but actually, expand them.
“We’re not talking about taking choices off the table,” said one woman who formerly identified as lesbian. “We are talking about putting more choices on the table.”
She noted that if AB2943 had been enacted when she was going through her “questioning” years, it would have pushed her backward, instead of allowing her to find freedom.
“Let’s make freedom a choice for everyone,” the wife and happy mom of two added.
“If AB2943 were enacted as law when I was a young person. I would not have found hope in my life,” said ex-gay Drew Berryessa.
“I take exception to the wording of this bill which calls the Gospel a fraud,” he said. “Yet I stand here today as a man married for 15 years, with three beautiful daughters.”
“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality: Its holiness,” added Berryessa.
Jacob, a 20-year-old in attendance, stated that people had no idea he was attracted to the same sex growing up. He played football, wrestled and competed in track and field in high school. He stated that he lived a gay lifestyle until six months ago when he experienced a shift.
Those in attendance laughed when he said he found out “girls’ skin and hair is so soft. It’s like I’m going through puberty all over again.”
“This legislation would block young people from making a choice,” he added. “Don’t pass the bill!”
One man also detailed that a book saved his life from the homosexual lifestyle he was caught up in.
“That book would be illegal if AB2943 were to be passed,” said Andrew Franklin. “I learned how to have healthier relationships through this. Nobody forced me to change. I wanted to change.”
He made sure to point out that he wasn’t forced to change, that he wanted to, despite what the mainstream media pushes about “conversion therapy.”
Christopher Simms, another person in attendance, detailed the abuse he received when he was young. He soon got involved with drugs and alcohol and also wanted to change genders.
He said he only received ultimate healing from his past when he was introduced to a relationship with Christ. He stated that after that experience, he no longer wanted to know men sexually, and turned from his old ways.
“Please don’t close the door on people like me who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria because we were abused as children,” Simms said Tuesday.
AB 2943 would set a devastating precedent as it states that the gospel is a fraud.
“(A)dvertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” to the state’s list of illegal “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.”
The bill calls the gospel and the Christian practices surrounding it “fraudulent.” One former gay spoke out about the wording, stating that the law says “we are all frauds, that we don’t exist. But we are real.”
“If God gives us the freedom to choose,” he asked, “How dare the California assembly dare to limit or deny our rights?”
Dean Broyals, the president of the National Center for Law & Policy defended the biblical views on sexuality at a press conference following the rally.
“The gospel is not a fraud,” he said, “yet this bill declares it is.”
“If we lose religious freedom in America,” he asked, “Where will we go? Where will we flee?”
See the live video from Tuesday’s rally below:
Live with the rally to oppose #AB2943!
Posted by California Family Council on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
(H/T: LifeSite News)