On Thursday AB-2943, the California bill that would designate conversion therapy as consumer fraud, passed the Senate on a party line vote. Not one Republican voted in favor of the bill which should tell you something. GOPers seem to have two employers — the NRA and the Christian right. They stopped representing citizens a very long time ago.

The bill goes back to the state Assembly for a vote on procedural amendments. That chamber had approved the measure by a vote of 50 to 18.

In 2012 California banned conversion therapy for minors. Two cases (Pickup v. Brown and Welsh v. Brown) challenging the ban made it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which left a lower court injunction in place. The Supreme Court declined to review the case which made the ban effective.

What is left is a very small fringe or people trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of adults and adults willing to pay for inevitable failure. In all cases, the recipients are trying to conform their sexuality to their religious beliefs.

The availability of conversion therapy perpetuates the myth that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices that can be cured with psychotherapy.

Call me a demon but it would seem to make a whole lot more sense for religion to conform to scientific realities, no matter how improbable that might be. For some reason we are not permitted to suggest that religion should change.

There is very limited demand for conversion therapy. Nevertheless, right wing Christian groups are atilt with threats of court challenges. This has nothing to do with helping anyone. Rather, the Christian right is adamant about retaining the availability of  conversion therapy because, in their minds, it justifies discrimination and opposition to nondiscrimination laws.

Then there is the  economic logic. Christian legal groups can probably raise more money off the case then they will expend. It is profitable for them to challenge the law with taxpayers footing huge expenses plus the tax-exempt subsidies of these groups.

Matthew McReynolds, who is with the hate group Pacific Justice Institute claims that the measure will be overturned in the courts. He said a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down a California law that required health care providers to give pregnant women information about family-planning and abortion services, throws Low’s measure in doubt.

As long as he is at it: In October, 2017 in NIFLA v. Becerra (the case that McReynold is referring to) the Supreme Court opinion included:

The Court has afforded less protection for professional
speech in two circumstances—where a law requires professionals
to disclose factual, noncontroversial information in their
“commercial speech,” see, e.g., Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary
Counsel of Supreme Court of Ohio, 471 U. S. 626, 651, and where
States regulate professional conduct that incidentally involves
speech, see, e.g., Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Assn

This would seem to be the latter of the two. The Court went on to explain that requiring Christian “crisis” pregnancy centers to post information about the availability of abortions was not a regulation of professional conduct:

It applies to all interactions between
a covered facility and its clients, regardless of whether a medical procedure
is ever sought, offered, or performed. And many other facilities
providing the exact same services, such as general practice clinics,
are not subject to the requirement.

The Supreme Court receives about 8,000 petition each year. It normally decides about 50 cases without hearing arguments and then hears another 80 or so cases. According to my cocktail napkin math the potential of having a case heard is less than 2%.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong but I think that Kavanaugh will get confirmed, tilting the Supreme Court further to the right. That wing is composed of religious conservatives. Anything is possible.

It took over two years for Pickup v. Brown to be refused by the Supreme Court. The longer the process takes, the more money these sociopaths can raise to further oppress LGBT people.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.