When Katy Butler was in junior high, bullies who called her a “dyke” slammed a locker door on her hand. Katy never reported the assault because she was afraid her school wouldn’t do anything to help.

If the Michigan state Senate has its way, Katy’s school won’t have to help students bullied in the future, either.

Last week, the Michigan state Senate passed an anti-bullying bill. But minutes before they voted, Republican lawmakers inserted special language into the bill to create a huge loophole: Bullying done because of a “sincerely held religious or moral conviction” isn’t covered by the law.

Rather than protecting students, the new law actually provides a road map that teaches kids how to bully — and how to get away with it.

Katy and her friend Carson Borbely know what it’s like to be bullied for who they are. They started a petition demanding that the state legislature enact a strong anti-bullying law with no exceptions. Click here to sign their petition.

The Michigan House of Representatives will consider the Senate’s weak anti-bullying bill soon. Katy and Carson want them to strengthen the bill and eliminate the religious exemption inserted by the state Senate, and members are rallying around their demand.

Some legislators are wavering in the face of public outrage, and Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger is now said to be considering a stronger, more comprehensive version of the bill. But Katy and Carson need your help to keep up the pressure.

Please sign Katy and Carson’s petition demanding the Michigan House of Representatives pass an anti-bullying law that will actually protect students:

Thanks for being a change-maker,

Rachel Maddow Show on Cain

“Don’t you feel like the entire country is run by 8 and a half-year-old boys? It’s just an amazing — you know, that here we are in 2011 and we’re having a conversation that we thought we put behind us decades ago. I think the most striking thing is if you think about the architecture of sexual harassment law in this country, it used to be the case that it was impossible for a woman to come forward and say, I am the subordinate, someone powerful and important harassed me. It would ruin her life. It is amazing that we’ve put into place an entire legal system that encourages her to come forward, that protects her from being called a hooker and a gold digger for coming forward, and yet still she’s a hooker and a gold digger despite this legal architecture.” -Dahlia Lithwick, Slate magazine legal editor, on sexual harrassment law in the 21st century and the allegations against GOP candidate Herman Cain

Watch video of coverage on the Rachel Maddow Show.

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9-9-9 is Hellish! Think about It