Friday, May 17

Rebuke of transgender legislator spurs protests, arrests at Montana legislature

At least seven demonstrators have been arrested on the Montana State Capitol on Monday after a raucous crowd interrupted the legislature with a loud protest to assist a transgender lawmaker who was suspended from talking on the ground for incendiary remarks.

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, 34, was proven elevating a microphone within the air on the House flooring as Montana Highway Patrol officers sought to revive order whereas a mob of about 100 activists within the gallery chanted “Let her speak!”

The seven protesters have been charged with felony trespass and launched with out bond, the Helena Independent Record reported.

“When my constituents and community members witnessed my microphone being turned off, they courageously came forward to defend their democratic rights to be heard – and some were arrested in the process,” the Missoula Democratic lawmaker mentioned in a press release. “I stood by them in solidarity and continue to do so.”

House Speaker Matt Regier, House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, and Speaker Pro Tempore Rhonda Knudsen issued a press release afterward thanking regulation enforcement and reconfirming their dedication to “decorum, safety and order.”

“House Republicans condemn violence and will always stand for civil debate and respect for our processes of government,” the management mentioned. “Today’s riot by far-left agitators damages our discourse and endangered legislators and staff. Their actions did not represent Montana values.”

Mr. Regier refused for the third day to acknowledge the Democratic lawmaker over feedback made final week throughout a debate on laws to forestall minor kids from being handled with gender-transition medicine and surgical procedures.

The first-term lawmaker replied that “if you are forcing a trans child to go through puberty when they are trans, that is tantamount to torture.”

“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,” the Democrat mentioned in April 18 feedback on the House flooring.

The legislator, who identifies as feminine, is the primary transgender lawmaker elected to the Montana legislature.

Senate Bill 99 handed, however Mr. Regier cited the feedback as a breach of decorum and mentioned the lawmaker should subject an apology earlier than being acknowledged once more.

The Montana Freedom Caucus known as Monday for “immediate disciplinary action against Democrat Representative Zooey Zephyr of Missoula,” who they mentioned was “encouraging an insurrection.”

“The Montana Freedom Caucus condemns the actions of violent protesters at the capitol building today,” mentioned the caucus of conservative Republicans in a press release. “The actions of a small minority of people disrupted the business of all Montanans and continues to show why we must enforce rules of decorum when engaged in public debate.”

The caucus additionally mentioned that “Representative Zephyr encouraged these actions by standing in the middle of the floor encouraging an insurrection after all members were told to move to the sides and clear the House gallery to remain in a safe location.”

The caucus known as April 18 for a censure on the grounds of “attempting to shame the Montana legislative body and using inappropriate and uncalled-for language during a floor debate.”

But the Democratic lawmaker has not solely refused to apologize, however doubled down on the remarks, tweeting afterward, “when I said there is blood on their hands, I meant it.”

The lawmaker known as it “disheartening that the Montana Freedom Caucus would stoop so low as to misgender me in their letter, further demonstrating their disregard for the dignity and humanity of transgender individuals.”

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte is predicted to signal Senate Bill 99, which might make Montana the seventeenth state to enact prohibitions on “gender-affirming care” for minors.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a invoice final week banning the usage of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgical procedures for minors.

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