The Montana court ruled on Tuesday that Rep. Zooey Zéphyr, who is transgender, cannot return to the Montana state House after being censured for telling Republicans they would have their hands stained with blood if they opposed gender surgery for children.
Mike Menahan, District Court Judge, made the ruling after lawyers representing the state of Montana requested that a judge reject Zephyr’s return request. Menahan claimed he did not have the authority to overrule the Legislature to return Zephyr back to the House.
In a five-page decision, he said that the move “would force this court to interfere in legislative authority at a level that would exceed this court’s jurisdiction.”
Zephyr said to the Associated Press that it was a sad day for the nation when the majority can effectively silence the minorities whenever they raise a concern.
Zephyr is a Democratic legislator who identifies as transgender. She made headlines for criticizing her state colleagues, who supported a law that would ban medical care to minors transitioning genders.
Zephyr, when discussing SB99, said: “I will only say that if you vote yes to this bill and yes to these amendments, then I hope you see blood on your hands the next time you pray with your head bowed.”
Critics demanded an explanation. After Zephyr refused to apologize, Republicans led by the majority voted 68-32 last week to ban Zephyr’s access to the House floor. Zephyr is not allowed to enter the anteroom, but she can still vote.
Lawyers for the state claimed that court intervention in Zephyr’s case would violate the separation of powers.
Austin Knudsen, Montana’s Attorney General, said that today’s ruling was a victory for the rule of law and separation of powers as enshrined by our Constitution.
Alex Rate, the attorney for Zephyr, stated that an appeal is being considered.