Michigan House Democrats passed legislation that would make misgendering someone and using their unpreferred gender pronouns a felony, punishable with up to $10,000 fine or imprisonment for up to five years.
House Bill 4474, part of a package of bills that would replace Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act, has increased individual protection based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“‘Intimidate’ means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened,” the bill reads.
According to the bill:
“‘Gender identity or expression’ means having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression whether or not associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth.”
However, critics say the bill violates the First Amendment.
“Make no mistake about it. Those advocating for this legislation will wield these policies as a weapon capable of destroying conservative expression or viewpoints grounded in the sacred,” Distinguished Professor Emeritus William Wagner told media outlet The Daily Wire.
“The state of Michigan is now explicitly allowing the gender delusion issue to be used as a ‘protected class.’ This opens up numerous issues when it comes to the courts and the continued weaponization of the system against conservatives,” State Rep. Angela Rigas said of the bill.
“We saw similar concerns when they wanted to pass blocks on ‘conversion’ therapy. It seems Dems want to be in the business of telling people how to think.”
As Fox News reported:
The bill was passed by the Democrat-controlled state House in a 59-50 vote. It now moves to the Michigan State Senate for consideration.
If approved by the state senate, it will be sent for approval to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign it.
Michigan lawmakers gave final approval to legislation banning “conversion therapy” for minors as Democrats in the state continue to advance a pro-LGBTQ+ agenda in their first months in power.
The legislation would prohibit mental health professionals from trying to convert youths who are LGBTQ+ to heterosexuality and traditional gender expectations.
According to Brietbart:
The legislation specifically states that an individual is guilty of a “hate crime” if they “intentionally” do “any of the following to an individual based in whole or in part on an actual or perceived characteristic of that individual listed under subsection (2), regardless of the existence of any other motivating factors.” It includes using force or violence, causing bodily injury, damaging or destroying property, or threatening or “intimidating” said individual based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity “or expression,” physical or mental disabilities, age, ethnicity, national origin, or association with an identified group.
However, the proposed law is very general, as it essentially asserts that one can be guilty of committing a “hate crime” for making an individual merely “feel” intimidated.
Many have pointed out the dangers of the generalization, as far-left activists have often accused conservatives of exhibiting “hateful” behavior for speaking out against allowing biological males to use women’s restrooms and changing rooms or compete in women’s sports, for example.
According to the legislation, the act of intimidation itself involves the “willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.”
Hypothetically speaking, an individual could “feel” intimidated or harassed, for example, for being called by the wrong “preferred pronoun.”