|Anti-gay groups are exploiting a survivor of the Pulse tragedy to fight against a pro-gay bill in California.|
There is a bill in CA, AB2943, which would outlaw marketing or selling the fraudulent practice of ex-gay therapy. The religious right have been fighting like mad to create a narrative which would allow them to fight the bill. First, they tried to portray it as something called a "must stay gay" ban. That didn't resonate. Then they falsely claimed that the bill would ban the Bible. That narrative failed. The two attempts to falsely portray the bill failed because its supporters consistently pointed out that it has to do with financial practices and transactions rather than personal beliefs.
So now from the religious right comes this new direction which is simply downright vile - exploiting a survivor of the Pulse tragedy to wreck the bill.
From the Family Research Council:
It's been two full years since it happened. People were still dancing at a nightclub on the south side of Orlando, when a gunman walked through the doors and brutally ended the lives of 49 people. India Goodman says she can still feel the body slumped against her in the dark, shielding her from bullets. She's just one of the survivors who says their story changed forever.
Luis Javier Ruiz is another. Like so many others in the Pulse nightclub that night, Luis thinks a lot about what could have happened. He looks back on his struggles then, identifying as a gay man, and believes -- without a doubt -- that it was the lowest point of his life. "I should have been number 50," he posted after the tragedy. An emotional Ruiz talked about how difficult things had been, even before the horror that June night.
"Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse, I remember my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV. My struggles were real! The enemy had its grip, and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ... I've grown to know His love in a deeper level. Two out of the 49 were my close friends and are no longer with us. They lost their life that night. I should have been number 50, but now... I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be -- but who Christ Jesus says I am."
Luis went public with his story, joining the Freedom March in early May with other people who've walked away from a lifestyle that brought nothing but pain. "It's not a gay-to-straight thing," he tells reporters, "but a lost to save[d] thing." During his recovery, he remembers, members of a local church came in and prayed with him. They shared portions of Scripture and told him about the love of God. Through that, he says, "I was able to not only just be free of the lifestyle but be free of me in general -- from every type of sin."