Straight lawmaker targeted with homophobic deaths threats from crazy anti-vaxxers

An Illinois lawmaker says he’s pulling legislation that would have required those who are unvaccinated to pay for their own COVID-19 care after he says he was targeted with homophobic deaths threats.

State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, who is straight and married to a woman, introduced HB 4259 on Monday. The bill sought to require people who choose to remain unvaccinated to pay for their own medical costs out of pocket should they wind up in the hospital for virus care, even if they have health insurance.

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Carroll said he hoped the measure would help increase the state’s vaccination rate, which is currently just above 60%.

“When we see over $5 billion has been spent on health care costs related to the unvaccinated, those of us that are vaccinated are frustrated,” he told local media. “We followed the course of action and others haven’t.”

But instead of inspiring people to to get their shots, the well-intentioned Democrat only seems to have succeeded in pissing off anti-vaxxers. So much so that they now want him dead.

Related: This video of Lindsey Graham being heckled by anti-vax constituents is deeply cathartic

“It turned into really a free-for-all of name-calling,” he said. “I was called things like the N-word. I was called derogatory terms for homosexuals. I’ve been called a Nazi. I’ve been called a communist. My staff has been called all of those things.”

While he still believes it’s important to have conversations about vaccines, Carroll now says his family’s safety “will always come first” and so he was withdrawing the bill. He also says he passed along the threats he and his staff received to Illinois State Police.

In a statement posted to Twitter yesterday, he wrote: “Based on feedback and further reflection, we need to heal as a country and work together on common-sense solutions to put the pandemic behind us.”

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.