Before we get to the good news, let’s get the bad news out of the way first: The California bill (AB 2943) that tells believers to hush up on matters of biblical sexuality has passed the state Assembly and will soon be heard in the Senate. And it’s still just as bad as we shared with you last month:

And now, at least one major evangelical ministry has already cancelled plans to conduct training programs in California out of concern over this bill. The impact from this bill could be huge!

But there IS good news.  All over California, people are speaking up.  Thousands of you spoke up to Assembly members, and although the bill still passed that body, the strong opposition started generating negative attention towards the bill.  Even the L.A. Times wrote an editorial about the bill that was quite critical.

Now it’s time to make our voices heard with senators!

Here’s what you can do:

Thank you for making your voice heard at this critical time!

The Family Policy Alliance Team

 

By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy for Family Policy Alliance

Tolerance and diversity. These buzzwords are the Left’s morning coffee, rallying cry, and litmus test for political office—or for anything else for that matter.

California. The state that brings us Hollywood, the LGBT mecca of San Francisco, Democratic super majorities in the legislature who can pass any Leftist policy they want, and 55 electoral votes earmarked for the Democrat presidential candidate every time.

You’d think California and “tolerance and diversity” would go together like Planned Parenthood and abortion.

But they don’t. In fact, California is the last state you should consider living in if you’re a Leftist who preaches tolerance and diversity.

California is a beautiful state. And it boasts some of the most incredible people who continue to stand strong in the face of Leftist attacks. In fact, Family Policy Alliance has its roots in California and is investing heavily there on behalf of the good people of the Golden State.

But as Californians know all too well, their politicians have been closing the state’s doors to freedom of choice, diversity of options, free speech, and even freedom of ideas for a long time. And now, a bill the state is considering this year may just be the final click of the deadbolt.

In 2012, California became the first state to ban professional counseling for children and teens who are struggling with their gender identity.  But the ban only forbids counseling that is designed to help them identify with their birth sex.

In other words, counseling that encourages children to change their gender – even to go through irreversible sex-change operations – is protected by the state.  But counseling to help them accept their God-given birth sex is outlawed. This law gives the state permission to interfere with families’ rights to direct their own healthcare goals, stifles free speech, squashes ideas that the state doesn’t like, meddles in the relationship between a healthcare professional and her patient, and, worst of all, harms children along the way by forcing them into often irreversible “gender transition” before they’re even old enough to vote.

In 2015, California’s liberal politicians passed the “Reproductive FACT Act”—now the subject of the NIFLA v. Becerra case before the Supreme Court. The Act targets prolife pregnancy centers by requiring them to advertise for abortion industry, even in their own buildings! This bears repeating. The state of California is so intolerant of the pro-life movement that it wants to not just silence prolife ministries—but force them to become billboards for the abortion industry. We expect the Supreme Court to rule that California overstepped its bounds with this law sometime in June.

Last year, the California legislature attempted to pass AB 1146, a bill targeting religious students, particularly disadvantaged minorities, that would take away their option to attend a school that aligns with their faith. The bill would have required colleges and universities to stop accepting any state funding—including students who receive Cal Grants to help disadvantaged students attend college—or else violate their faith and ministry.

In other words, it was more important to California’s leftist leaders to force Christian universities to abandon their faith in favor the state’s LGBT agenda than it was to give poor and minority students a chance to attend the college of their choice, or even to attend college at all.  Thankfully, this bill was mostly killed last year before it became law.

Now this year, the LGBT lobby is ramrodding a bill through the legislature that is perhaps the most hostile of all to tolerance and diversity. This new bill, AB 2943, would take the 2012 law banning therapy for minors even further—it would literally ban the sale of books, among other things.

The bill would ban the sale of books that express Christian, biblical beliefs about sex and sexuality. It would also classify any services (now including professional therapy for adults), speech or books to help people align their sex and sexuality with their faith, morals or personal goals as “fraud.” In fact, the bill is so broad it could censor pastors and their ability to help, or even recommend a book, to hurting people struggling with gender-identity issues or unwanted same-sex attraction.

Because the bill is so broad and clearly designed to advance the LGBT agenda with no tolerance toward differing views, it has been nicknamed the “you must stay gay” bill.

So What Can We Do? 

If You Live in California

If you live in California and haven’t yet called on your state Senator to oppose AB 2943, the “you must stay gay” bill, please use our ACTION CENTER to do so now! (If you sent a message to your Assembly member earlier, your senator still needs to hear from you.) It only takes seconds to send the message. Thousands have already sent in messages, but your state’s senators need to know that Californians want nothing to do with the Legislature’s newest attempt to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with its LGBT agenda!

TAKE ACTION

If You Don’t Live in California

The sad truth is that California’s heavy-handed policies spread to other parts of the country. For example, since California first banned professional therapy for children struggling with gender identity in 2012, 10 other states (plus D.C.) enacted the same ban, and many more states—including states in the Heartland and South—have been considering such legislation. Even some cities in conservative states passed therapy bans—forcing children into counseling that only encourages them to change their gender.

Your voice is so important in preventing California’s policies from spreading to other states like yours.

First, please visit our ACTION CENTER. There is a federal bill in Congress that would ban professional therapy for children struggling with gender identity, very similar to California’s law, that would have an impact nationwide. We need your help making sure our federal lawmakers know this policy is bad for America!

TAKE ACTION

Next, Family Policy Alliance is dedicated to working across the nation with families and our state-based family policy group allies to advance prolife, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom policies—and to prevent California’s intolerance from spreading. As you steward your resources, if this work is important to you, we ask you to consider partnering with us to support our nonprofit ministry.

SUPPORT FAMILY POLICY ALLIANCE

By Stephanie Curry, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance

At the turn of the century, miners brought canaries deep into coal mines as a test for the toxicity of the surrounding air.  Canaries are more sensitive to changes in the air than people. If the air was toxic, the canary would show symptoms before the miners.  This gave miners an opportunity to get out of the mine fast, before being poisoned themselves. Nowadays, to talk about the “canary in the coal mine” is to refer to a symbol for anything that can be viewed as an early warning sign for things to come.

Politically, we should all have our eyes on the canary in the mine – California. California’s extreme Leftist politics can often be an indicator of where progressive politics is headed over the next decade. If bad policies are accepted in California, they usually start to spread to other states. For years, California has been testing the atmosphere around “sexual identity politics”.

Right now, California has three bills on the table that have stunned observers around the country.

The first bill is California AB 2943.

This bill has the potential to censor Christian resources like books and conference materials, and even the Gospel itself.

If passed, this bill would outlaw any communication that is seen as an attempt to influence someone away from transgenderism or homosexuality –if that communication involves money passing hands.

The second bill is California AB 1779.

This bill would ban mental health care providers from providing counseling that would influence an adult away from transgenderism or homosexuality.

This bill targets adults that have guardians or conservators. Yet, we know many adults with severe disabilities should still have complete autonomy to make decisions about their own bodies and their own sexuality. This bill would take away that right.

The third bill is AB 2119.

This bill targets another vulnerable population, foster care children.

The bill would prohibit the state and foster care families from providing services that help a child to embrace their biological sex. Instead, the bill requires only services that affirm the beliefs of a child about their gender, pushing them towards transgenderism and medical treatments.

The primary benefit of the canary is that if something is wrong, it propels the people around it into action. Family Policy Alliance – in concert with our allied state organization, California Family Council – is calling Californians to action to oppose these dangerous bills.

If you live in California, please take action today!

If you live in another state, please pass this along to California friends, and be on the alert for similar schemes that will likely be coming to your state.  Make sure you and your friends are signed up for Family Policy Alliance alerts in your state, and get connected with our allied organization in your state.

Together, let’s stand united in support of the freedom to share our beliefs and, ultimately, the Gospel!

 

A California legislative committee is about to consider a bill that has truly stunned observers around the country.  Will you join a rising chorus of voices who are speaking out to stop it?

Assembly Bill 2943 essentially outlaws ANY communication that is seen as an attempt to influence someone away from transgenderism or homosexuality – if such communication involves any kind of financial transaction.

What would California look like if AB 2943 passes?

As an organization with deep California roots, Family Policy Alliance is thankful that Californians are speaking up against AB 2943!  Will you join them?

Here’s what you can do:

Thank you for making your voice heard!

The Family Policy Alliance Team

A California Assembly committee is about to vote on a bill that would push foster children towards transgenderism.  Your quick help is needed to stop it!

Assembly Bill 2119 mandates that puberty-blocking drugs and sex-change surgeries be made available to foster kids who believe they are trapped in the wrong body.  In addition, counseling for kids with gender confusion must be offered – but it can only help children to accept the gender they feel they are, not the gender they are physically.

In other words, counseling that encourages vulnerable foster kids to change their gender – even to go through irreversible sex-change operations – would be protected by the state.  But counseling to help them accept their God-given birth sex would be outlawed.

And if the minor decides that they want risky puberty-blocking drugs or irreversible sex-change operations, this bill mandates that they must receive it!

This is an extraordinary attack on vulnerable kids – and on the consciences of the good-hearted foster parents who are trying to help them.  That’s why your help is so urgently needed!

Here’s what you can do:

Thank you for taking action!

The Family Policy Alliance Team

 

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case with enormous implications for California and the nation.  At issue is whether California pro-life pregnancy centers can be forced to promote abortion.

There are well over 150 pregnancy centers in California that provide free resources to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. These centers support the life of the mother and child by providing free resources like ultrasounds, maternity clothing, baby clothes, parenting classes and much more.

One service most pregnancy centers provide, which has been the subject of much controversy, are referrals. Referrals might be offered for housing, career development, counseling or adoption.

But one referral you won’t find at pregnancy centers is a referral for an abortion. The mission of most pregnancy resource centers is to provide encouragement, love, and support to a woman who is experiencing anxiety or fear because of an unplanned pregnancy. These centers fill in a gap offering prenatal care and real family planning services to help women that might feel their only alternative is an abortion.

Yet, in October 2015, California’s “Reproductive FACT Act” was enacted, requiring that life-supporting pregnancy centers provide women and families a referral to state-sponsored abortion clinics. Pro-life pregnancy centers would be required to post large signs on their walls offering “free or low-cost access” to county-sponsored abortion clinics. If the pregnancy centers refuse to post a sign, they could be fined and sued by the State of California.  Many pregnancy centers are faith-based, and their very mission is to protect the life of the baby by providing referrals for alternatives to abortion, like adoption.

It is not only outrageous – but also unthinkable based on our First Amendment – that pro-life organizations would be forced by the state to promote values that directly oppose their very reason for being.

That’s why Family Policy Alliance and dozens of our state allies joined in producing and presenting a powerful legal brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in advance of this case being heard. That effort was led by California Family Council, our allied organization in the Golden State.

California Family Council, which opposed the legislation in Sacramento, has engaged the full force of our alliance to sign onto an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting the constitutional right of pro-life organizations not to be compelled to engage in speech that violates their conscience, religious beliefs and mission statements. As the amicus states: “It is hard to imagine a greater imposition on individual conscience. It is hard to imagine a more repugnant form of forced speech” than one that forces life-giving organizations to give referrals for abortion clinics. Family Policy Alliance signed on to this legal brief, alongside 39 other state family councils.

Jonathan Keller, President of California Family, stated: “Let’s hope and pray the U.S. Supreme Court justices follow the California court’s lead and strike AB 775 [FACT Act] down as a violation of free speech rights.”

What You Can Do: Please pray for the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday.  Pray that a majority of the justices will rule based on the weight of the legal arguments in the Alliance’s brief and in the oral presentation by our ally, attorney Michael Farris with Alliance Defending Freedom. Please also continue to partner with Family Policy Alliance as we work to protect prolife organizations in your state and every state.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sunday that would otherwise have forced Christian organizations and institutions to face a devastating choice: Betray your faith or be prosecuted by the state.

Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council, explains to Stuart Shepard in the Family Policy Briefing why AB 569 would have brought so much trouble to the state. Specifically, it aimed to criminalize any contracts or employee codes of conduct related to abortion and sex outside of marriage.

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they preach,” Keller said. “The right to freely exercise one’s religion is enshrined in our Constitution, and has always protected every American’s ability to freely associate around shared beliefs and practices.”

Christian Code of Conduct

by Ashley Shaw

If your child attends a Christian school, he or she is likely to be taught by teachers who cherish the Christian values so important to your own family. Your child’s teacher may even have signed a faith-based code of conduct to help preserve the school’s commitment to biblical morality.

But what if your child’s teacher chose to abandon those values and became pregnant out of wedlock or even decided to have an abortion? Your school may face the hard choice to take disciplinary action against the teacher for not reflecting the code of conduct she voluntarily signed.

Should a Christian school have the freedom to make that choice?

If the legislatures in California and New York have their way, the answer is “No.” Both bodies are considering bills that would take away the freedom of religious employers to require their employees to abide by codes of conduct based on biblical values.

The bills ban an employer from “tak(ing) any adverse employment action” against an employee based on his or her “reproductive health care decisions, including the use of any drug, device or medical service.” The bills also prevent employers from requiring employees “to sign a code of conduct or similar document that purports to deny any employee the right to make his or her own reproductive health care decisions.”

These provisions essentially mean that an employee who, for example, has premarital sex or has an abortion in violation of their employer’s guiding biblical values would be free to do so without penalty. In fact, while many Christian schools often require their students to abide by a moral code of conduct, those schools would be unable to require the same standard of their teachers, if these bills pass.

Proponents of the bills, like NARAL, argue that firing or disciplining an employee for violating a code of conduct is discriminatory. But federal law and the Supreme Court have long allowed religious employers the freedom to hire and fire based on the tenets of their faith.

The California bill, AB 569, purports to align with federal law by providing an “exception” for religious organizations if the employee in question is the “functional equivalent of minister,” but that exception is intentionally drawn too narrow to adequately protect most religious employers.

The real aim of such bills is to chip away at the established freedom of religious employers to establish a moral standard on issues such as abortion or sex outside of marriage. But religious organizations must be allowed the freedom to have employees who will abide by the tenets of faith that are so integral to their organization’s purpose.

If you live in California, now is the time to reach out to the members of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee to ask them to vote NO on AB 569 to protect the religious freedom of employers. You can do quickly and easily that through our Family Policy Alliance Action Center.

 

california-life-9th-circuitThe 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a California law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The Reproductive FACT Act mandates that these centers make information about public programs with “free or low-cost access” to abortion and contraceptive services available to clients.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and two other pregnancy centers are represented by Matt Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom.

“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say,” Bowman said, “but a law that tells you what you must say – under threat of severe punishment – is even more unjust and dangerous.

He said there will likely be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This violation of the foundational roots of the American Republic will not stand,” said Thomas Glessner, president of NIFLA told LifeNews. “There are pending legal options to pursue, and we are discussing with our attorneys our most effective options. This battle is far from over.”

 

CA Bill GraphicYour voice has been heard in California! An outcry in the state – and across the nation – has resulted in a reprieve for Christian colleges and universities.

SB 1146 would have seriously restricted the religious freedoms of Christian institutions. On Wednesday, the author removed a provision that would have allowed students to sue “private institutions if they are disciplined for violating church teachings,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I don’t want to just rush a bill that’s going to have unintended consequences,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara, “so I want to take a break to really study this issue further.”

Jonathan Keller with the California Family Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s nearly 40 state-based groups, said he was pleased with the move.

“This is certainly a victory for both religious liberty and student choice,” he said. “We are exceedingly grateful to our many coalition partners from local, state, and national organizations who have worked tirelessly to educate Californians to the dangers of SB 1146.”

Left in the legislation is a requirement for private schools to report the names of students expelled for violating morality codes. Sen. Lara said that would give him all the information to determine whether schools are “discriminating.”

Keller says the bill is likely to come back in 2017 and that churches and Christians should be prepared to push back again.

“While we remain cautious of any additional amendments before of the August 31 deadline,” Keller explained, “the current language of SB 1146 seems to recognize the value of faith-based schools in educating California’s underserved minority populations.”