Montana State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, was barred from the House floor for the remainder of the legislative year for incendiary remarks.
Zephyr, who identifies himself as a transgender woman, said legislators who voted against providing “gender affirming” treatment for children should see blood on their hands during prayer. His colleagues claimed the remark violated Montana’s House rules concerning decorum while performing public duties and censured him.
House Speaker Matt Regier (R-Kalispell) said after the censure vote that Zephyr urged chanting protesters in the gallery and considers the censure vote a fair reaction, according to a Daily Montanan report.
Fox News further reported:
Despite being silenced in Montana’s legislature, Rep. Zooey Zephyr has vowed to keep fighting.
Zephyr, a Democratic lawmaker who identifies as a transgender woman, said she’s confident critics have only amplified her message to those in her district and across the country despite her colleagues voting to censure her from the legislative chamber.
“There are many more eyes on Montana now,” Zephyr told The Associated Press. “But you do the same thing you’ve always done. You stand up in defense of your community and you… stand for the principles that they elected you to stand for.”
Zephyr is undeterred, however, and said she aims to continue doing the job she was elected to do: representing her constituents.
Zephyr, 34, was thrust into the national spotlight last week after the lawmaker criticized colleagues who supported a bill banning medical care for transitioning minors, telling them that they would have blood on their hands.
“The only thing I will say is if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there’s an invocation when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” Zephyr said when debating SB99.
After she refused to apologize for the comments, as critics demanded, Republicans led the chamber in a 68-32 vote to bar Zephyr from being able to access the House floor. She also cannot enter the anteroom or gallery as a result of the vote.
“It’s queer people across the world and it’s also the constituents of other representatives who are saying ‘They won’t listen’ when it comes to these issues. It’s staff in this building who, when no one is looking, come up and say ‘Thank you,'” Zephyr said.
Zephyr is still allowed to vote remotely.
The censure vote was held after House Speaker Matt Regier said Zephyr’s comments violated decorum rules.
“The Montana House will not be bullied,” Regier said earlier this week.
“Not only has my colleague violated decorum, but has broken the trust given by the other 99 Representatives,” Montana state representative Braxton Mitchell told Fox News Digital. “The hate-filled remarks were an act of self-service, not public service.”
Zephyr likened her activism and subsequent silence to an incident in Tennessee, where state lawmakers voted to expel two Black lawmakers for participating in a gun control protest after a school shooting in Nashville that killed three children and three adults.
The two lawmakers have since been reinstated.
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