LANSING, Michigan (LifeSiteNews) — The Michigan House of Representatives late last month passed HB4474, a bill that if signed into law will criminalize as hate speech any criticism against transgender ideology that makes a person ostensibly feel “frightened.”
In an attempt to silence critics and curtail First Amendment freedom of speech protections, transgender advocates in the Democrat-controlled Michigan legislature are seeking legal criminalization of opposition to sexual mutilation and chemical sterilization of children as discriminatory “hate speech.”
The bill passed the Michigan House in a 59-50 vote and is likely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate before reaching liberal Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.
The new bill broadens the definition of a “hate crime” to action by which a person “intimidates or harasses another individual; causes bodily injury or severe mental anguish to another individual; uses force or violence on another individual; damages, destroys, or defaces any real, personal, digital, or online property of another individual; or threatens, by word or act, to do any of the above-described actions, if the person, regardless of the existence of any other motivating factors, intentionally targets the individual or engages in the action based in whole or in part on any of the following actual or perceived characteristics of another individual: (a) Race or color, (b) Religion, (c) Sex, (d) Sexual orientation, (e) Gender identity or expression, (f) Physical or mental disability, (g) Age, (h) Ethnicity, (i) National origin, (j) Association or affiliation with an individual or group of individuals with a characteristic described under subdivisions (a) to (i).”
The bill defines “gender identity or expression” as “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.”
The bill also defines “intimidate or harass” as a “willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.”
Such intimidation or harassment will be “a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.”
According to the bill, speech criticizing mutilation and sterilization could be prosecuted as hate speech should a “trans-identifying” person or advocate claim to have felt “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened,” etc. Priests and pastors preaching against LGBT ideology, politicians arguing for the legal protection of children against sexual predators identifying as “transgender,” parents voicing objections to teachers and school boards, athletes objecting to sharing lockers rooms with those of the opposite sex — all such persons will be liable to prosecution for a “hate crime” and subject to heavy fines or even imprisonment.
Not only are First Amendment rights to freedom of speech under attack by HB4474, but freedom of religion, parental rights regarding the education and protection of their children, sexual abuse and harassment protections, and women’s rights and protections. The bill would affect schools, churches, businesses, news, social media, and politics.
The bill has been strongly denounced by Republican lawmakers. Michigan Rep. Angela Rigas said, “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. 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.”
Michigan Rep. Steve Carra commented, “Threats and violence and things of that nature and protecting against crime is certainly something that we absolutely should be doing in Michigan. But we shouldn’t be building that around an individual’s feelings of being frightened.”
“Scrap this bill,” he said. “This is not a bill that we need for the state of Michigan.”