More than 10,000 Christians signed a petition condemning the ban of Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Montana Democrat and the state’s first transgender lawmaker, from the state House floor Wednesday after she reportedly violated decorum.
Zephyr spoke last week against Senate Bill 99, which was recently signed by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, which prohibits gender-affirming care for minors. The legislation, which takes effect on October 1, states that healthcare professionals who violate the gender affirmation ban are “subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate licensing entity or disciplinary review board.” Consequences will include a suspension from your medical practice for at least one year.
From the boycott of Bud Light for allowing transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote the beer brand’s product, to banning transgender people from participating in women’s sports, transgender rights have come under heavy attack from conservatives and Republican-led states. More than 385 anti-trans bills have been introduced in the United States this year alone, with some lawmakers calling to limit or ban access to gender-affirming care for children and access to public restrooms.
On the House floor, Zephyr said that forcing a transgender child to go through puberty would be “tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed of it.”
“If you vote yes on this bill, I hope the next time you bow your head in prayer, you’ll see blood on your hands,” Zephyr said. In response, Republican House Speaker Matt Regier called his remarks a violation of decorum. As a result, he was excluded from the full House in a vote of 68-32, meaning he will not be allowed to debate or speak on legislation for the remainder of the session, which ends next week. The state representative will cast her vote remotely until then.
news week contacted the Montana State Legislature by email for comment.
Faithful America, an online community of Christians that aims to put faith into action to advance social justice, posted its petition Friday in an effort to gather 15,000 signatures from those who oppose the consequences Zephyr faced for speaking out. against the bill, arguing that it was simply telling “the truth to power about the harm caused by anti-trans legislation”.
“Across the country, Christian nationalist politicians are bending the rules to shut down debate in state capitols across the country. It’s a fascist tactic that silences already marginalized communities and undermines democracy, and social justice Christians have a key role to play in pushing back,” Faithful America said in a statement released along with their petition.
The group endorsed Zephyr’s statements about forcing trans children to go through puberty, adding that the consequences of doing so would lead to higher rates of depression and suicide among trans youth.
“Let’s rally around Representative Zephyr and show Republicans and the religious right that Christians will stand up for our neighbors and democracy no matter what,” the statement continued.
Faithful America said in its petition that every Montana politician who voted for the bill has “blood on their hands” and accused the “far right” of continuing to push for “unnecessary” restrictions in “the holy name of Jesus.” .
“As Christians, we stand in solidarity with the trans community and with Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who was wrongfully punished for speaking the truth about the harm caused by anti-trans laws. From Montana to Tennessee, we oppose any and all attempts to assemble a government and bend laws to silence, punish or expel members of marginalized communities and their allies for speaking truth to power,” the petition read.
Meanwhile, Zephyr launched her 2025 re-election bid, tweeting Friday that “during my first term, I have worked tirelessly to defend our healthcare, our housing, our human rights, and democracy itself. And I’m ready to get back on the ballot.” Montana State House of Representatives in 2025″.