Lee Heidhues 5.1.2023
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recently wrote in The Guardian that the Republican treatment of transgender people is akin to what the Nazis did to transgender and gay people in Germany after Hitler assumed power in 1933.
Reich feels this increasing suppression of transgender people and their civil rights is another step on the American road to Fascism.
One look no further than the American State of Montana where the State legislature banished transgender legislator Zooey Zephyr. Claiming Zephyr was a disruptive force as the excuse for violating the civil rights and human rights of this citizen legislator.
Excerpted from Montana Free Press 5.1.2023
“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,” Representative Zooey Zephyr said on the Montana House floor April 18.
Missoula Rep. Zooey Zephyr has filed a lawsuit challenging the disciplinary action that banned the Democrat from the House floor, anteroom or gallery, the latest in a standoff between Zephyr and Republican leaders consuming the final days in the 68th Montana Legislature.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Montana American Civil Liberties Union and a pair of private law firms, alleges that the order barring Zephyr from participating in floor debates violates her constitutional rights and deprives her 11,000 constituents from representation.
“Duly elected representatives to the Montana House have constitutional rights that they do not lose when they walk into the state Capitol,” Alex Rate, the legal director of the ACLU of Montana, told Montana Free Press Monday. “The House is free to pass whatever rules it wants, but those rules have to pass constitutional muster.”
The suit, which names the state, House Speaker Matt Regier and House Sergeant of Arms Brad Murfitt as defendants, specifically contends that the decision to discipline Zephyr violates her rights to free speech and equal protection under the law. It asks a Helena district judge to prevent Regier, R-Kalispell, and the other defendants from enforcing the terms of Zephyr’s censure and to compel them to recognize Zephyr to speak on the House floor.
The House voted to censure Zephyr last week following a protest in the gallery that challenged Regier’s ongoing decision not to recognize Zephyr to speak on bills up for consideration on the floor.
Regier suggested that he would not recognize Zephyr, a transgender woman, again until she apologized for remarks she made on the floor about Senate Bill 99, legislation that bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill last Friday.
Zephyr said she would not apologize, and Regier told her that her comments broke decorum and that he would not recognize her on the floor until he believed she could “maintain decorum” moving forward, according to the lawsuit.
Attached is a link to a PBS News Hour interview with Zooey Zephyr