Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who sparked a wave of support after Republican lawmakers silenced her for criticizing an anti-LGBTQ+ bill, says she is likely to be censored or expelled.
The Democrat has not been allowed to speak or participate in a full House debate since Thursday, after Republican House Speaker Matt Regier said her comments on a bill that aims to prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors was a violation of decorum.
Lawmakers will decide Zephyr’s fate during a House session Wednesday at 1 pm. The gallery will be closed in response to the arrest of seven people Monday at the state legislature during a rally in support of Zephyr, the first transgender woman elected to Montana’s state legislature.
“I have been informed that during tomorrow’s plenary session there will be a motion to censure or expel me,” Zephyr tweeted, and added that she will stand tall in the name of democracy, as always.
During debate over the bill, he argued that denying care and forcing a trans child through puberty would be “tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed of it.” She concluded her comments with: “If you vote yes on this bill, I hope that the next time you bow your head in prayer, you will see the blood on your hands.”
When Tories dismissed his words as “hateful rhetoric”, Regier announced that Zephyr would not be allowed to speak in the House until he apologized, something he has refused to do.
Zephyr was also deliberately misrepresented by the conservative Montana Freedom Caucus, which lobbied for its censorship and referred to Zephyr as a man in a tweet.
The House session was adjourned Tuesday to give lawmakers time to decide Zephyr’s future.
Regier said the allegations that the state GOP has silenced someone are false, adding that all representatives are “free to participate” in the House debate if they follow the rules, something he says Zephyr has chosen not to do.
“The only person who silences Representative Zephyr is Representative Zephyr,” Regier said. during a brief press conference on Tuesday at the state house. “Montana House will not be intimidated. All 100 representatives will continue to receive the same treatment.”
news week has reached out to Zephyr and Regier for comment.
Zephyr has received an outpouring of support, from Monday’s protests to a petition that garnered more than 3,000 signatures urging Regier to let the Missoula Democrat speak.
“Not only are they eroding democracy, but they are spelling the death knell for the Republican Party in Montana for a generation, or generations,” one person said. tweeted in response to Zephyr’s post.
Others on Twitter agree with the republicanssaying that Zephyr needed to face punishment for her actions on the Chamber floor.
Montana is among more than two dozen states trying to limit access to healthcare for transgender children as part of a conservative crackdown that includes restrictions on LGBTQ+ events by banning “drag story hours” at public libraries and shows. of drag.