California lawmakers passed a resolution this month telling "religious groups" — including Christian pastors and churches — to "embrace" the LGBTQ worldview, even if it contradicts the moral values of those religious groups.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low, also mentions what many believe are problems with so-called "conversion therapy," or counseling for people struggling with same-sex attraction.
The resolution calls on "all Californians," including religious groups, to "embrace" the "individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance" of LGBTQ people.
"[T]he Legislature calls upon religious leaders to counsel on LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy," the resolution states.
The resolution also blames "religious groups" for causing high rates of harm and isolation among the LGBTQ community.
"The stigma associated with being LGBTQ often created by groups in society, including therapists and religious groups, has caused disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, depression, rejection, and isolation amongst LGBTQ and questioning individuals," the resolution declares.
The resolution overwhelmingly passed the California Senate and House this month. It did not require Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) signature because it has no legal force. Instead, the resolution simply states the position of the California Legislature.
While Democratic lawmakers do not believe the resolution amounts to religious discrimination, Republican lawmakers have a much different perspective.
Republican state Sen. Andreas Borgea said the resolution's passage should "concern all of us" because it is "treading into freedom of speech territory."
"When an individual seeks therapy or guidance before a religious leader, whether it be a mosque, a temple, or a church, that's a private setting. … To disallow or create the pathway where we tell individuals they cannot say certain things should give us pause," he said, according to the Christian Post.
Indeed, Greg Burt of the California Family Council told the Epoch Times the resolution gives the government power to "coerce" people who disagree with the LGBTQ lifestyle.
"We believe in free speech. They [the legislators] have every right to criticize our position, but the state government does not have the right to use its power to coerce us to change. And that's where we believe this resolution is heading," he said.