Barred Montana trans lawmaker: Censure threatens ‘fabric of democracy’

  • Rep. Zooey Zephyr was barred after speaking on a gender-affirming care bill
  • Some Republicans say she disrupted the decorum of the House floor
  • She argues her right to disagree freely is integral to upholding democracy

(NewsNation) — Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyhr, the state’s first openly trans lawmaker, says barring her from speaking on the House floor was a move that threatens democracy, and “demands action.”

“When constituents, when Montanans elect people, they don’t just elect people to press a yes button or a no button. They elect us to have the hard conversations on the House floor, debates that have been going on for as long as the legislative body has existed, as long as this country has existed,” Zephyr said.

“When you disallow a member to partake in that debate, you’re removing the voice of 11,000 Montanans to be able to be heard.”

Zephyr joined “NewsNation Prime” to discuss her censure following the end of Montana’s legislative session.

“When you go from objection to disallowing any discussion going forward, that is, in my mind, where you have torn down the very fabric of democracy this country is built upon, and that demands action.”

Zephyr’s silencing drew hundreds of protesters to the Montana Capitol. Her supporters chanted “Let her speak!” as Zephyr raised a microphone in solidarity.

Rep. David Bedey was one of the lawmakers who voted to ban Zephyr from speaking on the floor. He told NewsNation that Zephyr’s actions “crossed a line,” arguing about the importance of maintaining decorum.

In response, Zephyr argued Montanans had the right to protest when their elected representative was censored.

“When you have something as fundamental as the core principles of our country at stake, when elected officials are not allowed to partake in debate on the House floor, that constituents come to have their voices heard to demand that their representative be allowed to speak. It’s important that those moments remain peaceful, but insistent and I think that is what we saw.”


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