Republicans Bar Montana Trans Lawmaker From House Floor

Zooey Zephyr barred from floor for rest of current legislative session
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 27, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Montana Trans Lawmaker Censured
State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, speaks on a motion to ban her from the Montana House of Representatives, Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Mont.   (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

Montana Republicans barred transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr from the House floor for the rest of the 2023 session on Wednesday in retaliation for her rebuking colleagues—and then participating in protests—after they voted to ban gender-affirming care for children. The freshman lawmaker's punishment marks the first time that a Montana lawmaker has been censured in nearly half a century, the AP reports. It caps a weeklong standoff between her and House Republican leaders and formalizes Republican leaders' decision to not let Zephyr speak since she said on April 18 that those supportive of such a ban would have blood on their hands. The censure comes two days after protesters later packed into the gallery at the Statehouse and brought House proceedings to a halt chanting “Let her speak" as Zephyr lifted her microphone toward them.

Zephyr will be able to vote and participate in committees, but she is unable to discuss proposals and amendments under consideration with the 99 other members of the Montana House on the floor for the remainder of the 90-day legislative session, set to end in early May. After days of rebuffing her request to speak, Republican leaders granted Zephyr the opportunity to give a statement before they voted to censure her Wednesday. She said her initial “blood on your hands” remarks and subsequent decision to hoist a microphone into the air toward protesters in the House gallery on Monday were an effort to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community and her 11,000 constituents in Missoula. House Speaker Matt Regier's decision to turn off her microphone, she said, was an attempt to drive “a nail in the coffin of democracy."

(More Zooey Zephyr stories.)

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