Democratic legislator Machaela Cavanaugh was voicing her opposition to a bill banning sex change for minors
Nebraska Senator Machaela Cavanaugh spoke out against a proposed bill banning gender surgery for minors with a repetitive monotone chant, repeating: “Transgender people belong here, we need trans people, we love trans people” close to three dozen times with increasing intensity until she was shouting and sobbing during Friday’s legislative session.
Cavanaugh explained this was “what they are saying in the rotunda,” referring to protesters who had gathered to oppose the proposed legislation.
While she began hitting the lectern rhythmically in time with her chant as if to encourage her fellow legislators to join in, none did. After about three minutes, she wrapped up the chant, declaring “You matter and I am fighting for you. I will not stop today, I will not stop tomorrow.”
US state sued for banning child sex changes
Cavanaugh previously warned that people would leave Nebraska if the bill passed and claimed that the lawmakers’ guilt would come back to haunt them. “You have to live with the fact that you vote to take away people’s rights,” she said, after suggesting legislators’ children would turn on them.
At least six of the demonstrators were arrested on Friday after they started throwing what appeared to be bloody tampons onto the Senate floor and chanting “Shame!” while lawmakers were voting, including two in connection with punching a state trooper.
Governor Jim Pillen has pledged to sign the bill, which ultimately passed after Republicans amassed enough votes to override a filibuster. It forbids gender surgery on patients under the age of 19, with exceptions for some individuals who were already receiving gender transitioning treatments, and sets rules for the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapies. It also bans abortion after 12 weeks except in cases of rape and incest and to save the mother’s life.
Republican state Senator Julie Slama told Fox News that Cavanaugh might have unwittingly gotten the bill passed through her bizarre performance, explaining that her colleagues resented how the Democrat had “got up and ran her mouth because she was just overjoyed that the national media was there to give her some more attention.”
After declaring in March that she would “burn the session to the ground over this bill,” Cavanaugh led an effort to filibuster and otherwise disrupt every bill in the legislative session, slowing the process down with hundreds of amendments and frivolous motions. Due to the difficulties in bringing any bill to a vote, lawmakers opted to combine the abortion bill with the gender treatment bill.
Nebraska joins 17 other states that have enacted laws restricting or banning gender transition surgery, hormones, and other transgender therapies for minors, and several other states including Texas and Missouri are currently considering similar legislation.