A Michigan state senator blasted her Republican colleague in a viral speech for accusing her of wanting to "groom and sexualize kindergarteners."
State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat, took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to castigate Sen. Lana Theis, who apparently alleged in a recent fundraising email that McMorrow that supports child abuse.
"I didn't expect to wake up yesterday to the news that [Theis] had, overnight, accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself," McMorrow opened. "So I sat on it for a while wondering: Why me? And then I realized: Because I am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme. Because you can't claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of 'parental rights' if another parent is standing up to say no."
Her speech comes as Republicans across the country pass bills to restrict the discussion of any LGBTQ+ subjects in the classroom, all under the dubious guise of protecting children from "grooming."
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
On the senate floor, McMorrow invoked her experience growing up as a Christian but feeling alienated from her church at the time because they rejected her mother for being divorced.
"I learned that service was far more important than performative nonsense like being seen in the same pew every Sunday or writing 'Christian' in your Twitter bio and using that as a shield to target and marginalize already marginalized people," she said.
"I know that hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen," the Democrat added. McMorrow. "So I want to be very clear right now: Call me whatever you want. I hope you brought in a few dollars. I hope it made you sleep good last night. I know who I am."
McMorrow also noted that she is "a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom" who believes that white kids who learn about slavery or racism are not "being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white."
On Wednesday morning, Theis responded to McMorrow's speech by saying that the Democrat "is not naïve about politics and fundraising."
"I know that because it took her mere minutes to turn her Senate floor speech into a plea for campaign donations," she said. "While Sen. McMorrow is on MSNBC preaching to her choir, I'll keep my focus on Michigan parents, who Democrats are seeking to undermine as the primary decision-makers in the education of their children."
McMorrow, 35, was elected in 2018 as the youngest woman to ever serve the Michigan state senate, according to The Detroit Free Press. She is currently running for re-election in the 8th District, which includes part of Lansing