Posted by Brad @ 10:33 am on November 4th 2011

Speaking of Bullying and Great Moments in Local Governance…

Michigan Dems move to create an anti-bullying law after a gay kid commits suicide after being bullied for being gay.

Senate Republicans add an amendment exempting bullying if it is due to “religious belief or moral convictions”

Amended bill passes.

Result: Bullying for religious or moral reasons is now legally protected in Michigan. The law that does so is named after the dead gay kid, so the next time a kid bullies a gay kid based on his moral conviction that God hates fags, he will be able to invoke “Matt’s Law” in his defense.

Ah, government.


  1. The bill lays out what exactly constitutes bullying, but in one key part it says that the legislation does not prohibit First Amendment rights, and “does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”

    I don’t know why the above would constitute bullying. And if it DOES constitute bullying, then a legal remedy is inappropriate.

    In short, I don’t see what Michigan did wrong here.

    Comment by Rojas — 11/4/2011 @ 10:46 am

  2. I don’t think a legal remedy to bullying above and beyond regular old laws and school policies is appropriate either.

    HOWEVER, if you do come at this from the premise that being egregiously mean to another student is a unique ill that requires specific legislative action and above-and-beyond legal remedies, which the authors and proponents of this bill clearly do – and that that premise is specifically in the context of bullying gay kids – having a carve-out exception if the bullying (presuming it’s verbal/emotional) can be construed as a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” sort of negates the whole point of it, because what bully riding the gay kid all year can’t claim he’s doing so based on his conviction that homosexuality is a sin?

    I get your point, and maybe the carve-out is only meant to protect civil and non-bullying statements of sincerely held belief and conviction and will be interpreted as such, but the whole thing strikes me as idiotic.

    Comment by Brad — 11/4/2011 @ 11:38 am

  3. Its the Michigin bully version of “It’s comin right for us!”

    Comment by Jack — 11/4/2011 @ 11:55 am

  4. Well, at least the gingers are safe.

    Comment by Rojas — 11/4/2011 @ 12:10 pm

  5. OK this just seems like partizan hackery stacked on top of questionably useful legislation. Hypothetical: Before the new law, if a teacher started each class by looking right at queer little Bobby and saying “homosexuality is evil, it is an abomination, we should not tolerate it” he would probably be fired, right? If I read the new Michigan law right, now he is legally protected. All because a bunch of conservative bigot douche nozzles can’t stand the idea of gays and lesbians being tolerated and the people that we hire to educate them being required to exercise some general form of protection from focused dickwaddery by their classmates.

    Comment by Jack — 11/4/2011 @ 9:32 pm

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