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Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr Is Suing After Republicans Vote To Remove Her From House Floor

People stand by the side of a road holding signs that say "We're with Zooey!" and "Let her speak".

On Monday, Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Montana House of Representatives to challenge Zephyr’s censure. Zephyr was barred from the House floor, preventing her from participating in debate, after she advocated for the rights of trans people in Montana.

“The recent actions violate my 1st amendment rights,” Rep. Zephyr wrote in a statement on Twitter on Monday, “as well as the rights of my 11,000 constituents to representation.” Without Zephyr present on the House floor to participate in debates, her constituents are left with diminished representation in the Montana state legislature.

Zephyr was removed from the floor last Wednesday, after Republicans in Montana’s House of Representatives spent several days preventing her from speaking. Republicans voted to remove Zephyr after a group of Zephyr’s supporters began chanting “Let her speak” from the galleries, prompting Zephyr to hold her mic up in the air to amplify their voices. After she was expelled, Zephyr began working from a bench in the hallway outside House chambers.

Zephyr previously said that Republicans would have “blood on their hands”—a phrase that’s not unheard of in legislative debate—if they signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. Republicans claimed to take offense to the phrase, and used it as a pretext to silence Zephyr, who has been a vocal advocate for trans rights. Montana Republicans have been at the forefront of the anti-trans hate movement, drafting bans on drag performances, bans on trans healthcare, and protections for students who bully their trans peers.

It’s unclear if Zephyr will win the lawsuit. Montana’s Democratic Minority Leader Kim Abbott said on the floor last week, “You absolutely can do this, by rule, by the Constitution … But just because you can do it does not make it the right choice.”

(via NPR, featured image: William Campbell/Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at