White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday said it was “undemocratic” for the Montana statehouse to move to censure state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D) over her remarks about gender-affirming care for minors.
“When you see these types of things, silencing an elected representative, in an attempt to suppress their message is a denial of democratic values. It is undemocratic,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that the Biden administration stands with transgender and LGBTQ leaders.
All House Republicans in Montana voted to censure Zephyr — one of the state’s first openly transgender lawmakers — which bars her from the House floor for the rest of the legislative session. The vote came after she claimed her colleagues who voted for a bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors would have “blood on your hands.”
“We’re seeing devastating pieces of legislation across the country, in state houses, aimed at taking away freedoms,” Jean-Pierre said, referring to the bill that passed in the Montana state House.
The move to restrict Zephyr’s voice in Montana made national headlines. Zephyr said in an interview with The Associated Press that the move by state House Republicans to censure her has brought “many more eyes.”
All 68 House Republicans in the state voted to censure Zephyr, while all 32 Democrats voted against it. Though banned from the House floor and gallery, Zephyr has the option to participate remotely, but only for votes.
President Biden also called the censuring of the “Tennessee Three” — over a gun violence protest — earlier this month undemocratic.
Biden on Tuesday hosted state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, the two Tennessee lawmakers who were once expelled from the state’s legislature, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, who was subject to expulsion, at the White House to discuss their recent protest to call for gun control.