DENVER — A Colorado group that advocates for gay “conversion” therapy has canceled its June conference in California citing progress of a bill there that would outlaw the practice, the Denver Post reports.
California bill AB 2943 aims to ban gay “conversion” therapy, as well as advertising for these commercial services, deeming it a deceptive business practice under consumer protection laws. California already forbids conversion therapy by mental health professionals on those younger than 18. Summit Ministries, a group based in the resort city Manitou Springs, Colo., (just outside Colorado Springs), cited the bill as the reason it was canceling its conference, the Post reports.
The bill cites numerous health associations’ findings that “conversion” therapy poses health risks for LGBT people. No rigorous scientific research substantiates claims that sexual orientation can be changed.
But some religious groups have rallied against the bill, saying it would violate their freedom of speech and set them up for lawsuits when discussing biblical attitudes toward same-sex attraction, the Denver Post reports.
“Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology, as well as sociology, psychology and science,” Summit President Jeff Myers said in a statement, according to the Post. “But the wording of AB 2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits.”
The bill passed the California Assembly on April 19. It now heads to the Senate. Colorado LGBT advocacy groups have attempted to ban gay “conversion” therapy by mental health providers for years but have yet to succeed, the Denver Post reports.