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April 25, 2018 ( – In 2010, a documentary titled 8: The Mormon Proposition was released, purporting to expose the Mormon cash and activism behind the ultimately successful Proposition 8, which sought to roll back California's legal acceptance of same-sex “marriage.” The documentarians used all the tricks of light and sound to show the Mormons and their allies as nefarious and hateful people, while simultaneously highlighting a number of gay relationships that would be impacted by the passage of Proposition 8. That is pretty standard fare for a left-leaning film, and so I didn't think much of it.

The scene in that documentary that I have been constantly reminded of since then was an interview with a gay rights activist, who highlighted the claims of those who oppose gay “marriage” that religious liberty would be restricted, that parental rights would be under threat, and that LGBT material would be added to school curriculums. These people are lying, and they know they're lying. This is utterly false, the activist assured the interviewer with righteous indignation.

That documentary is now eight years old, and every single thing opponents of same-sex “marriage” warned about has taken place. Of course, LGBT activists have moved on and forgotten their convenient deceits. For most of them, this was the plan all along.

California has been on the cutting edge of legislating the sexual revolution for some time, but nothing has been quite as terrifying as the passage of Bill 2943 through the California State Assembly last week. I don't want to appear as if I'm simply fear-mongering, so after wading through quite a bit of analysis on this legislation, I'll quote here from the always even-handed National Review columnist David French, who also happens to be a lawyer. His summary of the situation is, quite frankly, chilling:

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an “unlawful business practice” to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

The bill then defines “sexual orientations change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

This is extraordinarily radical. Christian orthodoxy is simple – regardless of a person's desires (their “orientation”), the standard of right conduct is crystal clear. Sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. When it comes to “gender expression,” there is no difference between “sex” and “gender,” and the Christian response to gender dysphoria is compassion and treatment, not indulgence and surgical mutilation[.]

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Essentially, California lawmakers are criminalizing any Christian response to same-sex attraction – even if the man or woman experiencing that attraction does not desire it. While other North American jurisdictions have already made similar moves, it is important to note that California's legislation may end up serving as the canary in the coal mine, because it is far more radical than anything we have seen so far, and far more restrictive. As French notes:

No one doubts that Christian orthodoxy is contentious. No one doubts that its teachings on sexual morality are increasingly unpopular. But they remain constitutionally protected, and no state legislature should be permitted to ban a “good” (such as a book) or a “service” (like counseling) that makes these arguments and provides them to willing, consenting consumers. In fact, state law would lock in a sexual-revolution orthodoxy that all too often hurts the very people the state seeks to protect.

Read that closely. What French is saying here – and he says it quite explicitly – is that California is actually banning the sale of books that promote the Christian view of sexuality. If Christians had warned, before the Supreme Court imposed same-sex “marriage” on all fifty states, that progressives would begin to use that victory to push for the banning of books, those Christians would have been mocked and ridiculed as hateful fear-mongers. Same-sex “marriage” won't impact you at all, Christians were told. Just live and let live. And now they're trying to ban the sale of some books they disagree with.

I recognize that there were some activists for same-sex “marriage” who find this sort of thing repulsive – Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch, to name two of them. But even those two men – men who dedicated years to campaigning for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” – have been rejected and marginalized by the broader LGBT movement for their support of freedom of speech and religious liberty. Even more ominously, Sullivan revealed that when he has tried to highlight these rights at conferences, he has discovered that most LGBT activists do not even believe that religious liberty is a valid concept – instead, they think it simply a convenient excuse for bigotry.

We should be watching the developments in California and the reaction of LGBT activists to this latest legislation very closely. I genuinely do think this law will serve as a canary in the coal mine, and one that activists in other jurisdictions will try to push for if they think they can get it passed and that it will stand up to a court challenge (it shouldn't, but who knows?).

Shutting down bakeries was bad enough. Banning books – that's a whole new reality.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.