A Montana transgender state legislator is facing calls to be censored for comments that were made as part of the legislature’s effort to pass amendments to a bill banning sex reassignment treatments for minors .
Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a bisexual and the first transgender lawmaker in the history of the Montana legislature, drew criticism Tuesday after telling Republicans during a House debate on amendments to Senate Bill 99 that they had “blood on their hands,” a notion that lawmakers hope for. be present in their prayers.
“The only thing I will say is that if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there is an invocation when you bow your head in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” Zephyr said.
Majority Leader Sue Vinton stepped in to remind her colleagues that they “can discuss matters civilly and with respect for one another”.
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Zephyr’s comments came as the State House voted and debated amendments to the measure requested by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican who has indicated he supports the bill and is likely to sign it.
The bill would ban certain medical procedures for transgender minors, but Gianforte offered suggested changes Monday to clarify that public funds could not be used to pay for surgery or hormone treatments for young people diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
“I share your deep commitment to protecting the children of Montana from invasive medical treatments that can permanently alter their healthy, developing bodies,” he wrote in a letter to legislative leaders proposing his amendments.
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Following Zephyr’s remarks from the House floor, the Montana Freedom Caucus, which includes more than 20 state lawmakers, released a statement calling for Zephyr to be censored for “hateful rhetoric.”
“The Montana Freedom Caucus calls on Rep. Zooey Zephyr of Missoula’s District 100 to be censured by the House for attempting to shame the Montana legislature and for using inappropriate and inappropriate language during a debate in floor on amendments to Senate Bill 99 – to prohibit sex changes of minor children,” reads a press release from the group. “This bill has already passed the House and Senate of Montana, and the debate was on the amendments requested by the governor.”
“This kind of hateful rhetoric from an elected official is exactly why tragedies like the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville have happened,” the group concluded in the press release. “Combined with former Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson’s recent calls for ‘jihad’ and a ‘combat to the death,’ there is undeniable evidence of a desire by some to engage in violence. for political beliefs. This has to stop.”
Senate Bill 99 had previously passed by a majority partisan vote in the Republican-controlled legislature. Following the House’s 66-34 vote in favor of Gianforte’s suggested amendments, just a day after clearing the Senate in a 31-19 vote, the bill now returns to the governor’s office for signature.
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At least 13 states have enacted laws restricting or prohibiting sex reassignment care for minors, and three states have prohibited or restricted such care through regulations or administrative orders. Federal judges have blocked enforcement in Alabama and Arkansas. The Missouri attorney general issued an emergency ban last week that limits treatments for adults.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.