A hate speech bill, HB 4474, has been passed by the House of Representatives in Michigan.
This bill makes it illegal to use words that cause someone to feel threatened, including misusing their pronouns. Offenders could face significant fines or even jail.
The bill introduces hate crime penalties for causing someone to “feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened,” with “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” included as protected classes.
Offenders could potentially receive a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine of $10,000.
This reflects an ongoing effort by Democrats in the state to promote a pro-LGBTQ+ agenda during their initial months in power.
The proposed legislation aims to replace the existing Ethnic Intimidation Act and extends protection against intimidation.
Critics argue that the bill poses a threat to First Amendment rights and lacks clarity in defining ‘harassment’, leaving it open to subjective interpretation.
The bill reads as follows:
“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.
This new hate speech bill passed in the Democrat-controlled House 59-50 and will now move to the Michigan State Senate (also Democrat-controlled) for further consideration.
Since gaining control of all levels of state government this year, Michigan Democrats have made it a top priority to strengthen the protection of LGBTQ+ individuals.
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