Judge Rejects Trans Lawmaker's Bid to Return to State House

Montana's Zooey Zephyr had alleged a violation of her First Amendment rights
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2023 6:35 PM CDT
Updated May 3, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Censured Trans Lawmaker Sues State
State Rep. Zooey Zephyr poses for a photo at the Montana State Capitol in Helena.   (AP Photo/Tommy Martino, File)
UPDATE May 3, 2023 12:30 AM CDT

A judge on Tuesday rejected Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr's attempt to be allowed back onto the House floor, CNN reports. Zephyr, who is trans, had sued in an effort to get court intervention after she was censured and barred from the floor last month, and she says she's not done fighting. "I’m exploring every avenue available to make sure my constituents, the people who sent me here, have the representation that they have a right to," the Democrat said on CNN. For now, she remains unable to participate in debate on the floor for the rest of the legislative session, though she is still allowed to cast votes remotely. The session is scheduled to end this week.

May 1, 2023 6:35 PM CDT

A trans lawmaker in Montana is suing the state to be allowed back onto the House floor after she was banished from it last month. "The recent actions violate my 1st amendment rights, as well as the rights of my 11,000 constituents to representation," tweeted Democratic state Rep. Zooey Zephyr on Monday, per ABC News. "Montana's State House is the people's House, not Speaker Regier's, and I'm determined to defend the right of the people to have their voices heard."

Zephyr first ran afoul of Republicans in the state legislature on April 18 when she said they have "blood on your hands" if they passed a ban on transgender youth care, per the AP. She was censured from participating in floor debates after that remark, which Republicans said went beyond the bounds of decorum. Days later, she was barred from the floor altogether when she showed support for demonstrators who showed up to support her. Since then, Zephyr has been sitting in the public gallery while the legislature is in session. On Monday afternoon, per the AP, she was casting votes from a statehouse snack bar. Neither state House Speaker Matt Regier nor statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms Bradley Murfitt have commented on the lawsuit. (More Zooey Zephyr stories.)

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