At the center of the House Republican majority’s controversial one-day silencing of two Democratic female representatives are claims that women are second-class citizens in the House of Representatives.
State Rep. Lisa Brown’s now infamous June 13 “vagina” remark on the House floor and Rep. Barb Byrum’s disruptive yelling at Speaker Pro Tem John Walsh for not being allowed to speak on her abortion bill amendment to ban most male sterilization has gained national attention. House Republican leaders barred Brown and Byrum from speaking on June 14 in response to their alleged violations of the decorum of the House a day before.
And Democrats have turned the spat into a larger issue about the treatment of women in the mostly male Legislature.
Democrats were already incensed after House Speaker Jase Bolger’s spokesman, Ari Adler, called Brown and Byrum’s floor behavior “temper tantrums.”
Now their blood is really boiling after state Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, told syndicated radio host Michael Patrick Shiels earlier this week that Brown and Byrum’s one-day silencing was “like giving a kid a timeout for a day.”
“Rep. Schmidt is the one who should be put in timeout by Speaker Bolger for his offensive remarks about female legislators,” Zack Pohl, executive director of Progress Michigan, said in a statement. “It’s time for Lansing Republicans to stop these shameful attacks on women and start doing the jobs they were elected to do.”