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Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr Takes Legal Action After Shocking Removal From House Floor

by Joshua Brown
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The Montana state Representative Zooey Zephyr asked a court on Monday to allow her to come back to the House floor. She was silenced and not allowed access because she said something mean about Republican politicians working on legislation that would make it harder for people to get medical care based on their gender. She also encouraged protesters at the same time.

A court case was started on behalf of Zooey Zephyr, a transgender politician in the state of Montana and some citizens who authorities said are not being given the correct rights that they are supposed to have. This case talks about Republican political groups becoming more powerful and further disagreements over transgender rights.

Zephyr, a well-known supporter of transgender rights, said Monday that people were mean to her simply because she spoke out and shared the values and needs of transgender people.

Matt Regier and Bradley Murfitt, two important people in the statehouse, are being sued with only a few days until the end of an important legislative event. Mr. Murfitt said he cannot discuss the legal case against him but Mr. Regier didn’t respond to any requests for comment. People from Missoula say they want “Zephyr” to be given attention at this legislative event.

Anna Wong and her trans child live in Missoula County, so she decided to support Zephyr in the upcoming 2022 election! She believes that it is their elected representative’s job to “speak out against bills targeting transgender youth”. Anna said “Suicide among transgender young people is real, sad, and not something to use for game or political purposes.”

Zephyr’s lawyers have urgently asked the court for a special kind of order to stop Regier and Murfitt from doing something. Until this is decided, the government can’t finish up planning their budget for the next two years.

Alex Rate, a lawyer helping Zephyr, said that every minute counts. Without her rights being fully restored, the 11,000 people from Montana she represents have no say when it comes to bills about the state’s budget which affect everyone in that area.

Republicans refused to let Zephyr join in discussions on the 18th of April after she accused people who support stopping young people from getting gender care of having someone else’s blood on their hands. A few days afterward, as protesters in the House gallery shouted that Zephyr should be allowed to speak, she got her microphone and spoke anyway. This resulted in seven arrests and a punishment for Zephyr which was not being allowed back onto the floor of the House.

The Republicans did not want to listen to what Rep. Zephyr had to say, so they shut down the two committees she served on and sent the bills these committees were looking at to other groups. Her special Capitol card which allowed her into buildings, bathrooms, and party rooms suddenly stopped working. Last week she even had to fight just to sit on a bench in the Statehouse hallway!

This year, two lawmakers in Tennessee were kicked out of their legislature for protesting about gun rights. Montana Republicans then criticized Zephyr for speaking up on this issue and said that she had crossed an invisible line when it comes to political debates. It is common for people debating intense topics like abortion or gun control to be told by protesters or other representatives that they have “blood on their hands”.

Zephyr’s attorneys mentioned some past court cases involving politicians who said things people didn’t like. One of these was about an Oregon politician and the state police. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court decided that it was unfair to make him give 12 hours’ notice before going to the Capitol because it took away his right to talk.

Lawyers looked back to a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case when deciding on this matter. It involved someone named Julian Bond, who later became the head of the NAACP. Georgia lawmakers tried to stop him from being elected because he had spoken out against the Vietnam War. Bill Brown reported this story from Montana.

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