Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak and Lana Theis of Brighton are first-term state senators, married, mothers and running for re-election this year.
Similarities end right there. A sharp difference in views and styles became visible in recent days, and prompted forceful pushback Tuesday on the Senate floor by McMorrow, a Democrat. A video of the remarks (below), which gets national attention after being tweeted by Hillary Clinton and others, has over 12 million views.
♦ Update: McMorrow was interviewed Wednesday on NBC's "Morning Joe" and Tuesday night on CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight."
She also earns coverage from The Washington Post, Newsweek, Esquire, Yahoo News, HuffPost, Daily Kos, The Hill, The Week and dozens of other media sites.
♦ Related: 'Mic drop:' What America is saying about Sen. McMorrow
She blasted the Republican from Livingston County for a Monday fund-raising email that "accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children." The donation message (shown below) came five days after McMorrow and two other Democratic women walked out of the Senate because of a session-opening invocation by Theis, who said in part: "We’re seeing in the news that our children are under attack, that there are forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know. Dear Lord, I pray for Your guidance in this chamber to protect the most vulnerable among us."
In a tweet shortly afterward last Wedneday morning, McMorrow condemned "closed-minded harmful words from a sitting Senator under the guise of a 'prayer.'" She added: "To every child in Michigan - you are perfect and welcome and loved for being exactly who you are."
On Friday, Theis tweeted: "Our children are in danger from progressive indoctrination, putting the rights of the education bureaucracy ahead of the rights of parents. Unfortunately, Lansing Democrats are more concerned with virtue signaling than protecting our kids.
Then she escalated Monday morning in a starkly personal way:
The 35-year-old senator from Oakland, who has a 14-month-old daughter, told colleagues in five-minute remarks that she "sat on it a while, wondering 'why me?'"
She added: "And then I realized [it's] 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.'"
McMorrow, who appeared to glare several times at Theis in her seat nearby, didn't name the 56-year-old mother of two.
But she mocked a mention of religion in the Republican's Twitter profile (left), saying she learned from her mother's example that community "service was far more important than performative nonsense like ... writing Christian in your Twitter bio and using that as a shield to target and marginalize already-marginalized people."
"I want my daughter to know that she is loved, supported, and seen for whoever she becomes. I want her to be curious, empathetic and kind.
"I want every child to feel seen, heard and supported, not marginalized and targeted if they are not straight, white, and Christian. ...
"I know that hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen. And I want to be very clear right now: Call me whatever you want. I know who I am. I know what faith and service mean, and what it calls for in this moment. We will not let hate win."
Theis did not request floor time for a response.
McMorrow tweets a video of her stirring pushback, which gains attention beyond Michigan. "Please watch this incredible speech from Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow, who is not standing by," Hillary Clinton tells 31.4 million followers in her retweet.
Senator Lana Theis accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community...in a fundraising email, for herself.— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) April 19, 2022
Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won't. pic.twitter.com/jL5GU42bTv