ALPINE, Utah (ABC4) — Sen. Mike Kennedy (R-Alpine), who sponsored a bill banning gender-affirming surgeries during the 2023 legislature, had his home vandalized Thursday, April 20, with red spray paint.
Both Utah Eagle Forum and Equality Utah have put out statements publicly condemning the act of vandalism. In a press release, the Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative advocacy group, called the vandalism an “act of cowardly action,” adding that it was not only a threat of physical harm but also “attacks the fundamental values that we hold dear as a community.”
The message sprayed painted with red on Kennedy’s home read, “FASH. THESE _____ BASH BACK.” ABC4 has blurred out an offensive word sometimes used to describe transgender individuals.
Kennedy has released the following statement regarding the incident:
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. The recent vandalism to my home was not just an attack on me but on the very principles, our state stands for. I will not be intimidated by your cowardly actions. I will not back down from fighting for what is right and just. Your attempt to threaten and silence me will only make me louder. I am more determined than ever to work with the good people of Utah toward a better future for our state. 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 determined to make our state a better place for all, especially our children, and I won’t back down.Sen. Mike Kennedy, 4/20/23
Additionally, the Utah Eagle Forum extended its gratitude to Kennedy for his “unwavering commitment to protecting our children,” emphasizing that they will not be intimidated or silenced by those who seek to undermine their attempts to protect children.
Representatives with Equality Utah, the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, say in a statement released Friday that they have been informed the vandalism may have been an act of retaliation for his sponsorship of S.B. 16.
“To the extent this, or any other act of violence or vandalism against our public officials, is related to LGBTQ advocacy, we want to make it clear that Equality Utah condemns these tactics in the absolute strongest terms,” the statement read.
The civil rights organization went on to make clear that vandalism does not help Utahns advance a climate of equality but instead harms the organization’s efforts to create deeper understanding with people with opposing views.
“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.”
To read the full statement, check Equality Utah‘s Twitter account.
Regarding the vandalism to Kennedy’s home, according to a statement by the Lone Peak Police Department: “The suspects appear to have targeted the Senator based on legislation that recently passed in the last legislative session. Officers are working diligently to gather evidence to find the suspects involved.”