Michigan Considers Felony For Pronoun Misuse

The Michigan state legislature is considering a punitive fine for the non-use of preferred pronouns. The state’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 4474, which now moves to the state Senate for possible passage.

The bill states that a person would be “guilty of a hate crime if that person maliciously and intentionally…intimidates another individual” relating to “gender identity or expression.” 

“Gender identity or expression” means having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression whether or not associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth,” the bill reads.

According to the bill’s text, intimidation includes conduct that “would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened or threatened.”

State Rep. Angela Rigas (R) said that the state “is now explicitly allowing the gender delusion issue to be used as a ‘protected class.’ This opens up numerous issues when it comes to the courts and the continued weaponization of the system against conservatives.”

Individuals who violate the proposed law would be “guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $10,000.” 

The bill made it through the state House in a 59-50 vote. The Democratic Party controls the state Senate with a 20-18 majority. Should it be passed through the second house of the state legislature, it is likely that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) would sign it into law.

The efforts in Michigan follow a bill in California that would punish parents that do not affirm their child’s chosen gender identity.

According to the proposed law, parents that did not agree with their child’s gender identity could be seen as unfit related to the “health, safety and welfare of the child.” 

Should there be a custody battle between two parents, one that did not affirm their child’s gender could be seen as akin to child abuse.

Supporters of the bill said that such gender considerations would be just one of a number of factors considered by courts in custody battles.