Utah State Senator Dr. Mike Kennedy (R) is standing firm and not backing down after his home was vandalized in possible retaliation for voting for a bill to ban gender-affirming surgery for minors that was later signed into law by Utah’s governor.
(Video Credit: ABC4 Utah)
Red graffiti on the front of Kennedy’s house and garage read “fash” which is short for fascist and also included a slur directed towards transgender people. The phrase including the slur reads, “trannies bash back.”
Lone Peak police officers were called around 7:30 am on Friday concerning vandalism at the home of the senator, according to CNN.
“The suspects appear to have targeted the Senator based on legislation that recently passed in the last legislative session,” police stated. “Officers are working diligently to gather evidence to find the suspects involved,” Det. Melissa Fahrni announced in a statement.
Kennedy sponsored SB16 this year, which banned transgender-related surgery and puberty blockers for minors.
“To those who seek to use violence, vandalism, and intimidation to deter me from standing up for what is right, let me be clear: you will not succeed. I will not be deterred by your cowardly actions. The recent vandalism to my family’s home was not just an attack on me, but on the very principles our state stands for,” Kennedy proclaimed in a Facebook post on Friday, while sharing an image of the spray-painted vandalism on his garage.
“We will not let fear and violence control our destiny. As Utahns, we will always stand up and push back against radicals who seek to push their agenda in our state. I am more determined than ever to work with the good people of Utah to make our state a better place for all, especially our children, and I won’t back down,” Kennedy asserted.
Equality Utah, which is the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, denounced the action and the violent message in a statement on Friday, claiming it does not know who is responsible. The organization was told that the incident “may have been an act of retaliation for his (Kennedy’s) sponsorship of SB16,” banning gender-transitioning surgical procedures for minors.
Equality Utah responds to vandalism directed toward Sen. Mike Kennedy#EqualityUtah #utpol #utleg #lgbtq #trans pic.twitter.com/QWdjUsahEi
— Equality Utah (@EqualityUtah) April 21, 2023
“We want to make it clear that Equality Utah condemns these tactics in the absolute strongest terms,” their statement contended. “These heinous acts do not help LGBTQ Utahns (…) In fact, they harm our efforts to build bridges and create deeper understanding with our fellow Utahns.”
“We don’t know the ideology of those who vandalized Senator Kennedy’s house,” Equality Utah stated. “But we have repeatedly asked conservatives to call out extremists on their side, who verbally harass our community and attack our liberties with harmful legislation. In return, we now call out and condemn extremists who may identify with our side, who deploy tactics to intimidate and frighten political opponents.”
Equality Utah also extended well wishes to Kennedy’s family and expressed its commitment to working constructively with legislators.
“We call on everyone on all sides of these debates to work together to ratchet down the hysteria and create genuine common ground with our fellow Utahns,” Equality Utah said in its statement.
The Utah Eagle Forum, which is a conservative political organization, criticized the vandalism at Kennedy’s home, as well as the threats made against him and his family according to 2KUTV.
The group praised Kennedy’s efforts to protect children in Utah and condemned the vandalism as a cowardly act that goes against community values.
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