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BIG Success! MassResistance Lobbying Deters CA Legislator from Re-submitting Reparative Therapy Ban

Constant pressure on lawmaker forces him to abandon terrible bill

Caves in - despite pressure from LGBT lobby!

March 28, 2019
ALT TEXT Arthur Schaper of MassResistance (left) discusses the anti-therapy bill with the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, at one of Low's events.

This is the biggest pro-family legislative victory in the far-left California legislature in decades! The far-left and the LGBT movement are used to getting their way all the time. But not now!

Last August, California MassResistance applied unprecedented pressure to stop the horrible anti-therapy bill AB 2943. On the last day of the session, the sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino), pulled the bill from the floor because he realized that its support had dried up. (It had previously been considered a complete shoo-in to pass.)

Low then made a public announcement -- which was also reported in the LGBT press – that he would be re-filing the bill in the 2019 session. So California MassResistance continued the relentless pressure on him at every event he appeared at. And it worked. When the February 22 deadline for filing bills for 2019 came, Low had not filed it! The LGBT lobby was livid!

Last week Low announced that instead, he would instead be filing a non-binding “resolution” (not a bill!) supporting the idea of a therapy ban. But so far he hasn’t filed that, either.

Let’s be honest: No pro-family group in California has ever lobbied as fiercely and unrelentingly as MassResistance. The Left still isn’t prepared to deal with it.

Here’s how it happened

In August 2018, as the session was coming to an end, California MassResistance activists worked around the clock, calling, emailing, and even visiting lawmakers to demand they vote no on bill AB 2943.

That legislation, if it passed, would have treated all forms of reparative therapy (for unwanted homosexuality or transgenderdism) as a fraudulent business practice. Furthermore, it would have forbidden the sale and distribution of any materials teaching people about natural marriage, biological sexuality, gender, and affirmation for Biblical morality. This was a sweeping piece of legislation which worried churches, professionals, and pro-family activists in general.

But at that point it seemed impossible to stop in the legislature. The bill had already easily passed the Assembly, passed the Senate, and was back in the Assembly for a final vote. Other California pro-family groups had given up and were focused only on getting the Governor to veto it after it passed.

But MassResistance refused to give up. Our activists up and down the state continued calling their own representatives as well as key lawmakers whom we had determined were swing voters, and lawmakers in swing districts, to demand they reject the bill.

ALT TEXT Putting on the pressure: MassResistance activists pose outside an Evan Low townhall meeting.

And we won! Enough legislators backed away from the bill that the sponsor had to pull it – and announce he’d re-file it in 2019 – rather than watch it go down in defeat.

But we didn’t stop there. Whereas most pro-family activists take a break and put aside their efforts until the next legislation session, MassResistance continued to pressure the sponsor, Assemblyman Low.

A month after the 2018 legislative session ended, two of our team members (including a constituent) held a conference call with one of the main staffers in Assemblyman Low’s office. We affirmed to his legislative team that we insisted that this bill would not only be removed, but that the lawmaker would not bring the legislation back in a future session.

We told his staff that our team of activists would continue calling his office and reaching out to churches in his district to tell them to oppose this bill at all costs. (In addition, our team insisted that the Assemblyman submit legislation to repeal the ban on reparative therapy for minors, SB 1172, which was passed and signed into law in 2012.)

On four separate occasions throughout the next four months, our activists attended events sponsored by Assemblyman Low. At each event, our team repeatedly demanded assurances that Assemblyman Low would not reintroduce that reparative therapy ban in the next legislative session. We even personally handed Low a copy of our book The Health Hazards of Homosexuality.

His staffers grew worried and tired about our appearances, but California MassResistance was relentless. Low’s staffers even mentioned Arthur and his fellow pro-family activists on social media:

ALT TEXT One of Low's staffers tweeted this to another staffer!

MassResistance members also notified churches and pro-family organizations to be ready to contact their lawmakers as well as Assemblyman Low, just to signal that our pro-family movement had not subsided but that we had doubled our resolve to ensure therapy equality for everyone.

Final Push at the State Capitol

On February 22 (the bill filing deadline for the 2019 session), our Organization Director Arthur Schaper paid one final visit to the state capitol and confronted key lawmakers.

In particular, he visited the new LGBT State Senate Caucus Chairman Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Not only did he demand therapy equality for all Californians, but he also gave him a copy of the book Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting by Dawn Stefanowicz.
The book details the lasting trauma afflicting children raised by an open and active homosexual father.

ALT TEXT Delivering a copy of the book "Out from Under" to Senator Wiener's office.

Throughout his brief discussion, Wiener’s staffer was patient and polite, but she was clearly uncomfortable with the statements that Arthur was making. “I told her the truth about homosexuality, transgenderism, and the healing effects of reparative therapy,” Arthur said “I even gave her a copy of our poster #TherapyEquality Now!”

Next, Arthur visited Assemblyman Evan Low’s office. Just going into that office building was eerie. On the doors to many of the legislators’ offices were posters and signs with rainbow flags and "Stop Hate" messages.

One of the staffers in Low’s office, Christopher, took down notes while Arthur related a new set of concerns related to any kind of reparative therapy ban (including constitutionality in light of recent court rulings). Just before Arthur left, he asked Christopher to take his photo outside of the office, just as a record that he had been there. Neither Christopher nor the other staffers would do it, they all came up with “important work” they suddenly had to attend to!

ALT TEXT Not mincing words: This was the message given to Low and his staff that day.

But by the end of the day, Assemblyman Low did not file the bill! It was a huge success!

There was some fear that Low would sneak the bill in later during the session by using a sleazy trick called “gut and amend.” Using that method, an existing bill is “amended” by completely replacing its current text with the text of a new bill. But Arthur contacted Low’s office on February 25, and the staffers confirmed that the legislation would not be introduced at all this session!

On March 15, Low told a meeting of LGBT activists that he now plans to file a “non-binding resolution” in the legislature this year condemning reparative therapy. He said he hopes that the resolution will bring enough momentum make it possible to file the bill next session and get it passed.

Explaining this to his LGBT constituency

None of this has made Low very popular with his LGBT constituency, which is used to getting their way on virtually everything.

As reported in the homosexual newspaper Bay Area Reporter, Low has blamed everything on pressure from Christian “religious leaders.”  According to the newspaper:

In announcing his decision to scrap his legislation last summer, Low promised to work with religious leaders and LGBT advocates on redrafting it and resubmitting it in the future. But finding a compromise has been elusive, particularly since Low told the Bay Area Reporter in January that he had ruled out granting a religious exemption in his legislation.

At the time he had told the Bay Area Reporter that he expected to introduce a revised bill this year that he hoped evangelical leaders could support. Low, however, did not introduce reworked legislation by the February deadline to do so …

"I am working on a resolution that both LGBT people and religious leaders can sign on to about the harm conversion therapy does to people," said Low.

It’s hard to believe that the LGBT lobby is buying that excuse, since they’ve rarely paid much attention to the feelings of California’s religious leaders in the past. But for now that’s his story and he’s sticking to it, though we haven’t seen any evidence that he’s been talking to anybody on our side.

ALT TEXT California Assemblymember Evan Low addresses statewide LGBTQ legislative summit explaining why he decided not to re-submit the therapy ban bill - after getting pressure from MassResistance activists. [Photo: Bay Area Reporter]

Activism That Make a Difference

Most pro-family activists, whether working alone or in groups, spend a few months lobbying legislators to stop bad bills or support good bills then stop for the rest of the year, But MassResistance understands the importance of keeping up the pressure on elected officials after each legislative session.

ALT TEXT MassResistance activists believe in keeping up the pressure!

MassResistance believes that lawmakers need to hear repeatedly and understand that we expect them to do the right thing for their constituents, for families, and especially for children. They also need to know that we do NOT stop promoting our causes just because the session is over.

Rest assured that MassResistance will continue to fight hard for pro-family bills to get the proper attention they deserve -- and to make sure that bad bills, like banning reparative therapy, do not get introduced.

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