A transgender lawmaker in Montana was censured Thursday after she was accused of presenting a “hate-filled testimony” while debating a bill that would ban transgender medical care for minors.
State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, had a message for those who voted in favor of the bill banning transgender medical care for minors.
“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 referencing the body’s opening prayer.
Republican Speaker Matt Regier then refused to acknowledge Zephyr when she wanted to express her opinion on a bill aiming to put a binary definition of male and female into the state code.
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“It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity,” Regier said. “And any representative that I don’t feel can do that will not be recognized.”
Regier said that the decision to not allow Zephyr to speak came after “multiple discussions” with other lawmakers, adding that there have been similar problems.
Montana Freedom Caucus member Rep. Caleb Hinkle, one of the individuals who demanded the censure, said that “Hate-filled testimony has no place on the House floor.”
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The bill that was being debated would ban transgender minors in the state from receiving surgical procedures, hormones, and puberty blockers.
Zephyr said on Thursday in a statement that the Montana GOP “is refusing to allow me to speak on any bill for the remainder of the legislative session.”
“I want to be clear: no amount of silencing tactics will deter me from standing up for the rights of the transgender community,” Zephyr said. “I will not apologize for speaking with clarity and precision about the harm these bills cause. Montana Republicans say they want an apology, but what they really want is silence as they take away the rights of trans and queer Montanans.”
The Montana House Freedom Caucus said in a statement earlier on Thursday that Zephyr should be censured.
“The Montana Freedom Caucus demands Representative Zooey Zephyr of Missoula’s House District 100 be censured by the House for attempting to shame the Montana legislative body and by using inappropriate and uncalled-for language during a floor debate over amendments concerning Senate Bill 99 — to ban sex changes of minor children,” a press release states. “This bill already passed the Montana House and Senate, and the debate was over amendments requested by the governor.”
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has signaled that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris and the Associated Press contributed to this report.