‘UNDEMOCRATIC’: Tester defends trans Montana state lawmaker who lashed out at Republican colleagues

Democratic Sen. Jon Testor used a tweet on Friday to defend transgender Montana lawmakers who told Republicans earlier this month that they had “blood on their hands.”

“I served in the Montana legislature for many years and worked with everyone to get things done for Montana,” Tester wrote in a tweet, defending Democratic state legislator Zooey Zephyr.

“Let’s be clear: Banning duly elected representatives is an extreme and undemocratic step that hurts thousands of Montanaans who have lost their voice in government.”

Montana transgender lawmaker banned from House for ‘hateful testimony’

Earlier this month, in a congressional effort to pass an amendment to a bill banning gender reassignment treatment for minors in the state, Zephyr told House Republicans that they “have blood on their hands.” ,” he said.

“The only thing I can say is if you vote YES on this measure and YES on these amendments, the next time you bow your head in prayer there will be a prayer and you will see the blood on your hands. I hope you can.”

Democratic Senator Jon Tester defended Rep. Zooey Zephyr of Montana, who is transgender. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images, AP Photo/Tommy Martino)

Accompanying Tester’s tweet was part of a radio interview he participated in, discussing the situation and defending Zephyr, Montana’s first transgender state legislator in history.

Tester, who is seeking re-election in 2024, said, “I want to make national news about steps to keep the 11 closed rest homes open and to make child care and home ownership affordable. It’s about teaching,” he said. Frankly, representing thousands of Montana residents is extreme. I think it’s undemocratic. “

Zephyr’s remarks prompted Republicans to be denounced and barred from the House floor for the rest of the 2023 session after they accused Zephyr of presenting “hateful testimony” during a debate on Senate Bill 99. was

Republican Speaker Matt Legier then rejected approval of Zephyr, who wanted to speak on a separate bill aimed at putting a binary definition of men and women into state law.

“It is up to me to maintain the courtesy of the House of Commons here, to preserve dignity and integrity,” Léger said. Let’s go.”

Leger said the decision not to allow Zephyr to speak was taken after “multiple discussions” with other lawmakers, adding that there had been similar issues. Zephyr has since spoken in the House. is not allowed.

zooey zephyr with a mic

Missoula Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr stands alone on the floor of her home protesting as demonstrators are arrested at the Montana State Capitol gallery in Helena on April 24, 2023. (independent recording via Thom Bridge/AP)

Zephyr was notified Tuesday night house leader A Twitter post by a lawmaker said he would consider disciplinary action. On Wednesday, lawmakers voted to ban Zephyr from the House floor for the rest of the 2023 session.

Trans-Montana lawmaker lashes out at Republican colleague during House debate: ‘Your hands are in blood’

“I have been informed that there will be a motion to condemn or expel me at the House of Commons tomorrow. I have also been told that I will be given a chance to speak. Protect my community and for democracy itself,” Zephyr said.

Since being barred from the House floor for the rest of the legislative session, Zephyr has continued to work in the public seating area outside the chamber.

“They initially tried to evict me from public seating areas, but given the undemocratic situation, they are doing the best they can for voters,” Zephyr wrote in a tweet Thursday. speaks to members of parliament, listens to debates, votes on bills and fights for democracy.”


of Another photo shared by Zephyr On Friday, lawmakers were shown sitting outside a closed-door hearing.

“Republicans used a series of procedures to remove all bills from my committee and silence my voters beyond what they had already voted for,” Zephyr captioned the post. “My voters have elected me to speak for them in committees and on the floor of Congress. It would be anti-democratic to stop me from doing so.”

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