The Michigan House has recently passed a bill, HB 4474, aimed at criminalizing the intimidation of individuals through the use of incorrect gender pronouns. Under this new legislation, offenders could face up to five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000. The bill defines “intimidate” as a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment that causes a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.
The bill specifically protects “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as classes deserving of safeguarding. “Gender identity or expression” is defined as having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression, regardless of an individual’s assigned sex at birth.
Critics argue that this legislation may infringe on the First Amendment, as it could be seen as compelling speech and restricting the expression of traditional, scientific views on sex and gender.
The bill was passed in the Democrat-controlled state House with a vote of 59-50 and will now proceed to the Michigan State Senate for consideration. If approved, it will then be sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign it.
In addition to this bill, Michigan lawmakers have also approved legislation banning “conversion therapy” for minors, showing their commitment to advancing a pro-LGBTQ+ agenda during their time in power. This legislation prohibits mental health professionals from attempting to convert LGBTQ+ youths to heterosexuality and traditional gender expectations.