- Montana state Democrat Rep. Zooey Zephyr and four constituents filed a lawsuit Monday against the state and state officials in response to Zephyr being censured last month by the GOP-led House.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana argued on behalf of the plaintiffs that Zephyr’s censure caused “irreparable harm” and violated their constitutional rights, according to court documents.
- The Republican-led House on Wednesday officially banned Zephyr, who is a transgender, from the floor for the remainder of the legislative session after the lawmaker said those who vote for a bill banning gender-related care for minors would have “blood on their hands.”
- Zephyr was not allowed to talk on the floor after the “blood” comment and before a final vote on the bill, which resulted in a rowdy protest in the House gallery in which demonstrators shouted “Let her speak.”
- After days of rebuffing Zephyr’s request to speak, Republican leaders finally granted the lawmaker the floor to give a statement before they ultimately voted to discipline her Wednesday.
- “This effort by House leadership to silence me and my constituents is a disturbing and terrifying affront to democracy itself,” Zephyr said after the lawsuit was filed. “House leadership explicitly and directly targeted me and my district because I dared to give voice to the values and needs of transgender people like myself.”
- GOP House Speaker Matt Regier has not yet publicly commented on the lawsuit, but after Zephyr was expelled from the chamber, said: “The only person silencing Rep. Zephyr is Rep. Zephyr. The Montana House will not be bullied. All 100 Representatives will be treated the same.”