Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Michigan House of Representatives passes bill that makes “misgendering” a HATE CRIME

 The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make misgendering – using the wrong gender pronouns to identify someone – a hate crime.

House Bill (HB) 4474 seeks to outlaw the act of causing someone to feel threatened through calling that other person by pronouns that do not "affirm" the gender they claim to be. Anybody who intentionally "intimidates another individual" or threatens them "by word or act" based "in whole or in part on an actual or perceived characteristic, including sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression" is liable under this measure.

Those found guilty under HB 4474 could spend up to five years behind bars or pay a fine of up to $10,000. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives in a 59-50 vote, sending it to the Michigan Senate. It is likely to pass without hindrance as the Democratic Party controls both houses of the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – whose signature formally makes the bill a law – is a Democrat herself. 

HB 4474 defined "intimidation" as 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. It also defined "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 Daily Wire pointed out that with Democrats controlling the executive and legislative branches in the Great Lakes State, conservatives will have to rely on the courts.

"Unfortunately, here in Michigan, we have lost all three branches of power in our state," lamented Republican State Rep. Angela Rigas. "While my colleagues are introducing great bills to counter the infringements to our freedoms, there is no current way to fix these issues without higher courts becoming involved."

SCOTUS can possibly overturn HB 4474

Critics of the bill, however, allege that it violates the First Amendment because it outlaws the personal choice to adhere to the traditional, scientific views of sex and gender. Due to this unconstitutionality, many believe the conservative Supreme Court will overturn Michigan's HB 4474.

Conservative author John Hawkins made this prediction in a tweet, claiming that the high court will shoot down the bill "because it's almost comically out-of-step with the First Amendment."

Former federal judge and professor William Wagner told the Daily Wire: "Make no mistake about it. Those advocating for this legislation will wield these policies as a weapon capable of destroying conservative expressions or viewpoints grounded in the sacred."

In the event that the bill becomes law, Wagner said someone could listen to a speaker such as a religious preacher or read a conservative writer and claim they're being intimidated because their "perceived gender identity" is under attack. He added that the bill leaves intimidation and harassment up to the interpretation of the listener and a local prosecutor. Wagner ultimately remarked that the bill determines what is criminal "after the action" – contrary to the due process required by the Constitution.

"One merely needs to look at the scores of cases brought against schools, churches, businesses, and individuals around our country. Proponents use these laws to silence and financially cripple those who dare to adhere to a different viewpoint and oppose their agenda."

Rigas also remarked that including sexual orientation and gender identity as a "protected class" specifically targets conservatives who speak out against radical gender ideology.

"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," she told the Daily Wire.

"We saw similar concerns when they wanted to pass blocks on 'conversion' therapy. It seems [Democrats] want to be in the business of telling people how to think. We are determined to keep choice and opinion a free choice despite those efforts."

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