Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt

Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt speaks in the state Legislature on November 8, 2022.

(Photo: @NebraskaMegan/Twitter)

'You Hate Him More Than You Love Your Own Family,' Nebraska Lawmaker With Trans Kid Says to GOP

"I am not asking you to sit here through late nights to vote on these bills that we're dragging out," said state Sen. Megan Hunt as a GOP colleague complained about a missed family event. "I'm asking you to love your family more than you hate mine."

Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt on Thursday made her latest appeal to her Republican colleagues to block the passage of a ban on gender-affirming healthcare, while expressing anger over lawmakers' complaints about how long the bill has taken to make its way through the Legislature.

Hunt, who represents the 8th District and announced earlier this month that she was leaving the Democratic Party to become nonpartisan, addressed her fellow lawmakers after a debate that stretched into the night on Tuesday regarding a proposal to attach an abortion ban to the so-called "Let Them Grow Act" (L.B. 574), the ban on transgender healthcare for youths.

The officially nonpartisan unicameral body—in which Republicans hold 32 seats and Democrats hold 16—ultimately voted in favor of attaching the bill, and Speaker John Arch confirmed to NBC News affiliate WOWT that lawmakers could vote on final passage as soon as Friday.

If passed, the legislation would be one of just a few bills to make it through the Legislature this session, compared to dozens that are generally passed by this point in the year. Hunt has joined state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh (D-6) in a monthslong filibuster to block L.B. 574.

On Thursday, Sen. Lou Ann Linehan (R-39) complained on the Legislature floor that she had missed her grandchild's preschool graduation due to the prolonged debate over the bill.

Hunt, whose son is transgender, expressed empathy for Linehan over her missed family event, but pointed out that remaining in the Legislature to stop the passage of L.B. 574 is a matter of "taking care of my family."

"I am not asking you to sit here through late nights to vote on these bills that we're dragging out," said Hunt. "I'm asking you to love your family more than you hate mine."

"If you want to see your grandson graduate from preschool you should do that," she continued. "Instead you are here to drag out this session because you won't come off this bill that hurts my son. You hate him more than you love your own family. And that's why you're here... We don't need you here. We need to you vote 'no' or 'present, not voting' on 574 because there's nothing else in this body that's affecting your family."

Critic and journalist Emily St. James called Hunt's comments "an amazing distillation of this whole phenomenon" of the surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, which has now been proposed in all but four states and Washington, D.C. this legislative session. At least 19 states have passed bans and restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare for minors.

"The need to have an out group to endlessly punish is driving people to miss moments in their own lives they'll never get back," said St. James.

The conservatives in the Nebraska Legislature appear to have the votes they need to pass the bill, according to WOWT. The measure would go into effect immediately after Republican Gov. Jim Pillen signs it due to an emergency clause.

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