Conservatives and legal professionals are now alarmed about a hate speech measure in Michigan that has reportedly passed the state House and is currently in the hands of the Senate.
Many conservatives have expressed concern that the law violates the First Amendment rights of Americans.
The proposal, HB 4474, is a piece of legislation that would replace Michigan’s current Ethnic Intimidation Act and make it a hate crime to make someone “feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.”
The structure of the measure includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as classifications that are shielded from intimidation.
Those who violate the hate speech law would be guilty of a crime punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of $10,000, if it were to become law.
Although HB 4474 briefly mentions constitutionally protected speech, it does not go into detail about how the government would handle First Amendment issues like religious liberty if the bill is passed, which invariably pits LGBTQ people against religious people who disagree with such lifestyles.
HB 4474 was approved by the Democratically controlled Michigan House, 59–50, and is now being considered by the Democratically controlled Senate.
If approved, Gretchen Whitmer, the state’s democratic governor, would sign the measure into law as soon as she does. Conservatives will have to rely on the courts because Republicans lack the necessary votes to block the plan.