HARRISBURG – The PA Family Institute is warning that the House Judiciary Committee approved several hate crimes bills that would have a chilling effect on individual freedoms. House Bills 1024 – 1027 would create a new system of criminal penalties that threaten Pennsylvanians. They could blacklist those who hold opposing views on areas of sexuality, marriage, and what it means to be male and female. Under the bills, not only may someone face criminal and civil penalties, but they may face unlimited hours of sensitivity training. Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel at the Independence Law Center, says in a free society we should respect everyone including respecting the freedom of expression for people to disagree on important issues. Examples of how the legislation would impact citizens include:

A parent who speaks out at a school board meeting in objection to sexually-explicit school curriculum could be reported and investigated if a school board member or anyone in the audience takes offense.

A high school girl who asks a biological boy who identifies as a girl to leave their girls-only locker room could be subjected to a harassment investigation and worse.

A student who wears a t-shirt to school with a message that reads, “There are only two genders.” with someone claiming they suffered harm and were made to feel unsafe, resulting in a possible investigation and charge under the legislation. 

Each bill passed by a party-line vote: 12 Democrat yes votes to nine Republican no votes. The bills now go to the full PA House.