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Tipsheet

Montana Judge Rejects Transgender Lawmaker’s Bid to Overturn Removal From House Floor

AP Photo/John Hanna

This week, a federal judge ruled that Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat who identifies as transgender, cannot return to the House floor after remarks he made toward Republican colleagues over transgender "gender-affirming care" legislation.

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According to the Associated Press, Judge Mike Menahan for the 1st District Court of Montana said that it was outside his authority to overrule lawmakers who voted to bar Zephyr from the House floor. 

As Townhall covered, Zephyr, the state’s first “openly transgender” lawmaker, lashed out at Republican representatives late last month saying they have “blood on [their] hands” over legislation restricting irreversible transgender care for children. 

"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 told the lawmakers.

On Twitter, the Montana Freedom Caucus called for the immediate censure of Zephyr. 

“While individual legislators have condemned his behavior, the legislature itself has not yet issued a collective statement acknowledging the wrongdoing and upholding a commitment to civil discourse,” the statement said. 

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“This kind of hateful rhetoric from an elected official is exactly why tragedies such as the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville occurred,” it added. The killer, as Townhall covered, was a transgender person. 

As a result, the majority-Republican House banned Zephyr from the House floor, including in-person debates, for the rest of the legislative session. According to the Associated Press, the state’s attorneys had asked the judge to reject Zephyr’s request to return.

“Separation of powers is fundamental to the United States’ system of government. The Constitution of the state of Montana provides specific grants of authority to each of the three branches…Mont. Const. Art. III, § 1. Article V, Section 10 of the Montana Constitution explicitly grants each house of the Montana legislature the authority to “expel or punish a member for good cause,’” Menahan wrote in a five-page ruling on Tuesday. “Even if the Court ultimately finds the House of Representatives, Speaker Regier, and Sergeant at Arms Murfitt acted unlawfully under the facts of this case, it does not have the authority to issue a broad permanent injunction to effectively remove all legislative authority under Article V Section 10 in relation to a single member.”

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On Twitter, Zephyr said that “those who hate [transgender] people are doing everything in their power to silence & harm us.” 


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