Judge Rejects Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s Request To Return To Montana House – Rolling Stone

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Montana Judge Mike Menahan rejected a request from Democratic State Rep. Zooey Zephyr to overturn a ban against her presence on the state’s House floor and legislative facilities. Menahan wrote in his decision Tuesday that Zephyr’s request would “require this Court to interfere with legislative authority in a manner that exceeds this Court’s authority.”

Zephyr, with support from the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the request for relief Monday. The state’s Republican-controlled House voted to bar Zephyr, the first openly transgender lawmaker elected to the Montana legislature, from entering the chamber floor, anteroom, and gallery for the rest of the current legislative session. 

The request to the court argued that the legislature’s actions against Zephyr were “an unconstitutional violation of Rep. Zephyr’s right to free speech,” and further “deprived her 11,000 constituents of the right to full representation in their government.” 

In a statement to the Associated Press, Zephyr called the decision “entirely wrong.”

“It’s a really sad day for the country when the majority party can silence representation from the minority party whenever they take issue,” she added. 

While Zephyr is still allowed to cast votes on bills brought before the legislature, her keycard granting her access to the state Capitol’s entrances, meeting and hearing rooms, and even bathrooms has been deactivated. 

Republicans in the chamber retaliated against Zephyr in response to her April floor speech, where she said that those who supported a proposed bill that would severely restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender individuals in the state would have “blood on [their] hands.” 


“I have had friends who have taken their lives because of these bills,” Zephyr said in a floor speech shortly before the vote for her exile. “I was not being hyperbolic. I was speaking to the real consequences of the votes that we as legislators take in this body.” 

“When the speaker asks me to apologize on behalf of decorum, what he’s really asking me to do is be silent when my community is facing bills that get us killed,” she added. “He is asking me to be complicit in this legislature’s eradication of our community, and I refuse to do so.” 

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/zooey-zephyr-judge-rejects-return-montana-house-floor-1234728225/

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