Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, a
Republican, on Friday signed a bill that restricts gender-related
medical care for transgender youth.
According to the AP, at least 15 states
have such a law.
The signing comes after state
Representative Zooey Zephyr, Montana's first transgender lawmaker,
was silenced by Republicans for her opposition to the bill.
GOP leaders acted after Zephyr told her
fellow lawmakers that they would have blood on their hands if the
bill became law. Her silencing led to protests and arrests in the
“I know that this is an
unconstitutional bill. It is as cruel as it is unconstitutional. And
it will go down in the courts,” Zephyr said after Gianforte gave
The bill is expected to take effect on
October 1 but civil rights groups have said that they will file a
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, criticized Gianforte, calling
him an “extremist.”
“Governor Gianforte is an extremist,
and the last thing he cares about is the well-being of transgender
kids,” the group's Cathryn Oakley said in a statement. “This bill
prevents certain kids from getting potentially life-saving health
care simply because those kids are transgender – and that’s
discrimination. Montana families deserve so much better.”
Under the legislation, medical
professionals who provide such care to minors could have their
medical licenses suspended for at least one year. It also allows
patients to sue providers and prohibits the use of public resources
for such treatments.