A Michigan “hate crime” bill, which could make using the wrong gender pronouns a felony carrying a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, has passed the House.
House Bill 4474 defines such “hate crimes” as malicious and intentional acts, ranging from “violence” and “bodily injury” to “intimidation” based on factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
“A person is guilty of a hate crime if that person maliciously and intentionally does any of the following to an individual,” the bill reads, “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:
(a) Uses force or violence on another individual.
(b) Causes bodily injury to another individual.
(c) Intimidates another individual.
(d) Damages, destroys, or defaces any real, personal, digital, or online property of another individual without the consent of that individual.
(e) Threatens, by word or act, to do any of the actions described under subdivisions (a) to (d).”
The bill defines “intimidate” 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.”
While the bill claims intimidation “does not include constitutionally protected activity,” critics worry it will infringe upon the First Amendment right to free speech and undermine the principles of due process, according to Daily Mail.
“The state of Michigan is now explicitly allowing the gender delusion issue to be used as a ‘protected class,’” Rep. Angela Rigas, R-Dicstict 79, said. “This opens up numerous issues when it comes to the courts and the continued weaponization of the system against conservatives.”
The measure passed the House 59-50 on June 20 and now moves to the Senate for consideration. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has already voiced her support to sign it into law, according to Fox News.