Not long ago, the culture frowned upon sex-change procedures. Society told individuals to accept how they were made.

Times have changed.

“Gender affirmation surgery — sex-change surgery is now a passé term — became four times more common between 2000 and 2014, for a total of 4,118 in-hospital procedures,” explains a March 27 report by CNBC.

A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine documents 1,260 sex reassignment surgeries between 2012 and 2014.

As early as 2012, CBS News carried a story on its website under the headline “Sex-change treatment for kids on the rise.” It documents a movement of teachers, parents and physicians supporting children who wish to change their genders.

To the dismay of some and the delight of others, the culture rushes in the direction of more personal choice for those who seek to change how they were made.

Meanwhile, progressives in California seek to discourage another form of personal choice involving sexual characteristics.

As some individuals seek “affirmation therapy” or “sex-change treatment” to alter gender, others want “conversion therapy” to alter sexual orientation. Sometimes a man attracted to men wishes he could desire women. Sometimes a woman attracted to women wishes she could desire men. So they claim, and who are we to judge them?

The so-called Human Rights Campaign has no compunction with judging them. The organization supports California’s AB 2943, which classifies “conversion therapy” as a “deceptive” act of consumer fraud.

Supporters of the bill pass judgment on LGBT individuals who want something different. Those people, they argue, should accept how they were made.

It is fine to change sexes, but not OK to change sexual orientation. That seems like an odd double standard.

The bill, passed by the California House and working through the Senate, would forbid solicitation of any therapy that assists a person in becoming heterosexual. If enacted, expect this bill to emerge in legislatures throughout the country.

LGBT Americans are not more fragile than everyone else. They don’t require state protection from therapists offering help achieving unique goals, regardless of moral outrage toward these individual aspirations.

We would never seek to encourage or discourage “conversion therapy.” We don’t care about any person’s sexual orientation. We don’t care about the old debate over sexual orientation as a choice or genetic condition. We only care about a government trying to steer personal decisions by unlawfully muting options promoted with free speech in the free market.

We don’t know if conversion therapists achieve what they claim, or even if they should. We only know LGBT individuals seek their services enough to keep them in business.

More than 1,000 Californians pleased with conversion therapy expressed formal opposition to AB 2943, and some testified at a legislative hearing against the bill.

“Some do want to live out their same-sex desires,” said Ken Williams, who claims therapy helped him become heterosexual. “That is their right, but not everyone who finds themselves with same-sex desires is wanting to pursue that — is at peace with that.”

Williams said members of the LGBT community deserve the right to pursue their own happiness and be the kind of people they want to be. No one — ever — should be told they do not have that right.

Furthermore, no state should declare “invalid” or “unlawful” a treatment individuals desire, pay for, and appreciate. Some claim chiropractors keep them going, and others question whether the practice offers anything more than a placebo effect. California allows solicitation of services by “master crystal healers,” who buy certification from Southern California’s University of Alternative Complementary Healthcare.

We don’t want states banning promotion of acupuncture, reflexology, or other therapies commonly questioned by mainstream medicine and psychology. In doing so, they trash the First Amendment.

The rights of individuals to lead the peaceable lives they choose forms the foundation of all civil rights. California should defend the rights of LGBT residents. State senators should vote to live and let live, by defeating this un-American bill. If they don’t, the governor should veto it.

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