Human Rights Campaign Condemns Montana House Republicans for Silencing Transgender Rep. Zooey Zephyr and Banning Her from House of Representatives for Duration of Legislative Session

by HRC Staff

Helena, Montana — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned today’s vote in the Montana House of Representatives to prohibit Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a transgender lawmaker who has spoken out repeatedly in recent days over legislative efforts to erase and marginalize transgender Montanans under state law, from speaking on legislation and to ban her from the House of Representatives for the remainder of the current legislative session.

Today’s vote is the latest in a series of efforts by increasingly aggressive, extremist politicians who want to silence dissenting voices. Just three weeks ago, Tennessee Republicans voted to expel two Black lawmakers for protesting in favor of gun violence prevention. In March, Republicans in Oklahoma voted to censure Rep. Mauree Turner, a Black, Muslim, non-binary state legislator, and then advanced a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in that state.

The protection of free and open debate is central to our democracy. The people of Montana’s 100th District sent Rep. Zephyr to Helena to raise their voices and fight on their behalf. That is exactly what she has done, and it is shameful that some of the most extreme members of the Montana House are trying to silence one of the only transgender legislators in the state simply for serving her constituents and the LGBTQ+ community. This action is part of a deeply disturbing trend of legislatures punishing leaders for using their voices to protest against discriminatory and dangerous legislation – we’ve seen it in Oklahoma and Tennessee already. Montanans deserve better than this. Rep. Zephyr deserves better than this. We stand with her.”

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

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