05 Jul In-the-News Update [Issue: Basic Freedoms]
Michigan’s state House of Representatives has passed bill HB 4474, which introduces the possibility of felony charges for intentionally intimidating someone by using incorrect gender pronouns, according to legal experts. The legislation aims to criminalize actions that cause individuals to feel threatened by words. The bill defines “intimidate” as a deliberate course of conduct involving repeated harassment that would make a reasonable person feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened, resulting in similar feelings for the victim. Protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, are specifically addressed in the bill. Critics argue that the legislation infringes upon First Amendment rights and could be used to suppress conservative viewpoints. The bill was approved by the Democrat-controlled state House in a 59-50 vote and now awaits consideration in the Michigan State Senate before potentially being signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In addition to this bill, Michigan lawmakers have also recently passed legislation banning conversion therapy for minors, further advancing LGBTQ+ rights in the state.