Leftist protesters disrupted the Montana House of Representatives on Monday after the body voted to censure a Democratic transgender lawmaker who said Republicans have "blood on their hands" for supporting a bill restricting gender surgeries.
Protesters in the Capitol shouted, "Let her speak" from the gallery of the House floor, bringing the session to a halt. The interruption lasted around half an hour, before police escorted the protesters from the gallery, arresting seven for criminal trespass.
The protesters staged the demonstration in support of transgender state representative Zooey Zephyr (D.). The Republican-controlled House censured Zephyr on Thursday for "hate-filled testimony" after the lawmaker said the next time Republicans "bow [their] heads in prayer," they will "see the blood on [their] hands" for supporting a bill to ban transgender treatments for minors. Since last week, the House has prevented Zephyr from participating in debate on the floor, a move Zephyr called "fundamentally undemocratic."
"No amount of silencing tactics will deter me from standing up for the rights of the transgender community," Zephyr said.
Republican lawmakers condemned the protest, describing the disruption as an "insurrection."
The bill, called the Youth Health Protection Act, would ban hormone therapies and gender surgeries for minors in Montana. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R.) said he will sign the bill, which the legislature passed last week.
The interruption comes a month after leftist protesters demonstrated in the Tennessee state capitol, disrupting a House session. The legislature expelled two Democratic members who participated in the protest, though they were eventually reinstated.