Republican lawmakers in Montana voted to expel Representative Zephyr after she stated that they would be responsible for any harm caused to transgender youth if they restricted medical care for them. Her expulsion was challenged in court, but a district judge ruled that he did not have the authority to reinstate her.
The controversy arose after Rep Zephyr opposed a bill that aimed to prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Montana. She commented that lawmakers should see “the blood on their hands” during a prayer, referring to the increased suicide risk among transgender individuals.
State Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s attorneys argued that reinstating her would violate the House’s “exclusive constitutional authority” to discipline its members, and the judge agreed. Rep Zephyr disagreed with the ruling and suggested a possible appeal, but with the legislative session about to end, the appeal would likely have little impact.
Rep Zephyr’s expulsion is the latest example of a Republican-controlled legislature punishing a Democratic lawmaker who opposes policies supported by conservatives. In April, two black Democrats were expelled from the Tennessee legislature for leading protests in support of gun safety after a mass shooting in Nashville.
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