- By Chris Woodward
(The Center Square) – The Montana House of Representatives voted Wednesday to censure and remove Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, from the floor for the remainder of the session after the lawmaker failed to apologize for saying Republicans would have “blood on your hands” if they passed a bill restricting gender-related treatments for minors.
Zephyr, the state’s first openly transgender legislator, has squared off with Republican colleagues over Senate Bill 99, which would prohibit “certain medical and surgical treatments to treat minors with gender dysphoria.”
“If you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope that the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer you see the blood on your hands,” Zephyr told colleagues last week. Zephyr’s supporters also interrupted House proceedings on Monday in protest.
“The choice to not follow rules is one that Rep. Zephyr made,” he said. “The only person silencing Rep. Zephyr is Rep. Zephyr.”
The conservative Montana Freedom Caucus in a Wednesday statement thanked law enforcement for their professionalism dealing with protesters, adding that the caucus “stands with the legislature’s decision to discipline Representative Zephyr.”
“It’s unfortunate that Rep. Zephyr had neither the maturity nor the humility to take responsibility for his actions and simply apologize, as other members of the legislature routinely do,” the caucus added.
Zephyr responded in a statement: “I stood unwaveringly in defense of my constituents, my community, and democracy itself.”
Zephyr will still be allowed to vote on House matters remotely.
“I will continue to make the difficult moral choices necessary to stand up for the people who entrusted me with their representation,” Zephyr said. “My gratitude for those who spoke out on these principles is boundless, and I pledge to always stand up for them, and to tirelessly advocate for democracy in the state of Montana.”
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