A new hate speech bill passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, HB 4474, would criminalize causing someone to feel threatened by words - including misusing someone's desired pronouns.
Under HR 4474, hate crime penalties would apply for causing someone to "
If convicted, offenders could face up to five years in prison for such a felony, or a fine of up to $10,000.
According to the bill, "intimidate" is defined 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, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened."
The bill also considers "sexual orientation" and "gender identity expression" as a protected class.
Gender identity expression, according to the language of the bill, "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."
Critics say it's absurd
"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," said State Rep. Angela Rigas, adding "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."
The bill, passed by a 59-50 vote in the Democrat-controlled House, now moves to the state Senate for consideration. If passed, it will move to the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign it.