State Watch

Michigan Democrat who ripped colleague over ‘groomer’ comments: ‘Hate won’t win’

Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow appears on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss colleague’s allegations.

A Michigan Democratic state lawmaker who went viral this week after blasting a Republican colleague who had accused her of “grooming” children, took to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday with a message: “Hate won’t win.”

“This is definitely not something that I wanted to do to go viral, but it’s the message that hate won’t win,” state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D) said during the appearance. “I think we’re proving that and we have to say it loudly and clearly and stand up for those who are being attacked because one day it might be us.”

During a blistering floor speech on Tuesday, McMorrow said Republican state Sen. Lana Theis, in a fundraising email, “accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community.”

Theis’s office didn’t immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

McMorrow said none of her Republican colleagues spoke to her about her speech.

“[Theis] said nothing back and couldn’t even be bothered to look me in the eye,” McMorrow said. “I looked at the back of her head the entire speech — she turned away from me.”

Screenshots of the fundraising email posted online show Theis sought campaign cash, claiming she’s up against “social media trolls like Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Snowflake) who are outraged they can’t teach can’t groom and sexualize kindergarteners.”

It came after McMorrow and two other senators walked out in protest of Theis’s prayer that mentioned “our children are under attack … there are forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know.”

Several states have recently passed or introduced what critics call “Don’t Say Gay” bills meant to restrict educators from discussing LGBT and gender identity issues with students of a certain age range.

McMorrow and others have spoken out against the adoption of similar legislation in Michigan.

Supporters of the legislation have increasingly referred to opponents as “groomers,” which is a term for someone who manipulates children in an attempt to make them vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Advocates also say that the term “groomer” is a smear and reinforces a harmful trope that members of the LGBT community are associated with pedophilia.

“Without sharing or repeating closed-minded harmful words from a sitting Senator under the guise of a ‘prayer,’ to every child in Michigan–you are perfect and welcome and loved for being exactly who you are,” McMorrow tweeted in response to Theis’s remarks.

McMorrow said during her TV appearance that she felt compelled to make the public address because of what she sees as “hateful rhetoric with no actual policy.”

“This moment is going to require straight, white, Christian, suburban moms to stand out and get uncomfortable and say this is not OK,” she said.

Tags Lana Theis Mallory McMorrow Michigan

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