(The Daily Signal) – A Louisiana state senator says he is undeterred despite receiving a death threat after he voted to override a governor’s veto on a bill protecting children from experimental “transgender” medical interventions.
“No type of threat would ever stop me from trying to save children and keep them from being mutilated or from facing any other harm,” state Sen. Michael “Big Mike” Fesi, a Republican representing southern Louisiana, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.
Fesi voted to override Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ June veto of House Bill 648, the Stop Harming Our Kids Act. The state House voted 76-23 on July 18 to override the veto, and the Senate voted 28-11 to override the veto the following day.
After the vote, Fesi received a voicemail message expressing joy at the prospect of putting him “in the ground.”
“I can’t wait to read your name in the f—ing obituary,” a man, whom police later identified as Louisiana State University graduate student Marcus Venable, said in the message. “I will make a g–d–n martini made from the tears of butthurt conservatives when we put your f—ing a– in the ground.”
In the audio, which political commentator Greg Price posted to Twitter, Venable claimed that Fesi did not produce “any g–d–n evidence to support the claims you made about people being harmed by transgender care,” and he cited what he described as “tons of empirical evidence” about an “increased suicide risk” in the absence of such interventions.
Fesi told The Daily Signal that he called the police to report the threat. “When they talk about ‘put you in the ground,’ you absolutely call the police,” he said.
The senator has not received any apology from Venable. He said the police told him they directed the graduate student to refrain from contacting him.
Louisiana State University condemned Venable’s actions and will bar him from teaching, local TV station KCBY reported.
“As a university, we foster open and respectful dialogue,” LSU spokeswoman Abbi Rocha Laymoun said. “Like everyone, graduate students with teaching assignments have the right to express their opinions, but this profanity-filled, threatening call crossed the line.”
“This does not exhibit the character we expect of someone given the privilege of teaching as part of their graduate assistantship,” she added. “The student will be allowed to continue their studies but will not be extended the opportunity to teach in the future.”
LSU did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time.
House Bill 648, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, forbids health care professionals from engaging in specific acts “that attempt to alter a minor’s appearance in an attempt to validate a minor’s perception of the minor’s sex, if the minor’s perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
It bans various experimental medical interventions that transgender advocates euphemistically refer to as “gender-affirming care,” such as the off-label use of drugs like Lupron to forestall puberty, cross-sex hormones, sterilizing surgery, surgeries to construct facsimiles of organs belonging to the opposite sex, the removal of “any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue,” and other procedures to alter secondary sex characteristics.
When the Louisiana Legislature overrode Edwards’ veto, the governor predicted that the courts would “throw out this unconstitutional bill,” which he said “needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children, their families, and their health care professionals.”
Fesi disputed Venable’s claim that the senator did not present any evidence to support his position.
“If you have to continue these drugs, you become a lifetime patient,” he said, warning that “the suicide rate after doing this thing really goes up.”
“You need to at least wait until you’re of age to make that decision,” Fesi said. “Children, they can’t drink alcohol until 21, they can’t drive until they’re 16.”
The state senator also urged people to focus on being “a good person.”
“As far as the threats and stuff go, you need to agree to disagree,” he said. “No one needs to cause hardship on anyone else just because of a disagreement. We need to learn to love one another no matter what.”
He pledged to continue to support legislation aimed at protecting children.
Fesi noted Senate Bill 64, “Ezekiel’s Law,” which unanimously passed the state Legislature and which Edwards signed on June 1. The law requires closer communication between law enforcement and child protection agencies after the death of 2-year-old Ezekiel J’sai Harry, whose body was found in a trash can.
“Two-year-old Ezekiel was [allegedly] beat to death by his mother’s boyfriend,” Fesi recalled. “He was supposed to be moved to his dad’s possession prior to his death.” Closer communication between law enforcement and child agencies will prevent such tragedies in the future, the senator said.