A conservative Massachusetts lawmaker last month quashed a bill to add a third gender identity—“gender X”—to state driver’s licenses by taking the measure at face value. The bill had already easily passed the Senate, and was headed over to the House, where advocates assumed an easy win.
But two hours before the session’s midnight deadline, Republican Rep. Jim Lyons told the clerk he wanted to file 73 amendments to the bill, each proposing a different gender he said should also be added to state driver’s licenses. Lyons told me he got the list—which included genderqueer, gender questioning, gender variant, pangender, transmasculine, and cis female—from Facebook. He filed 35 amendments before the filing deadline. Per House rules, amendments are allotted 10 minutes of debate and three minutes for voting, so he had time on his side.
Lyons said an advocate for the bill approached him soon after, asking if they could come to an agreement that the House could go past the midnight deadline (allowed if no one objects). Lyons told the representative he would certainly object. The House still had a few measures they had to vote on and not enough time for the amended gender bill and the other bills. Seeing imminent defeat, House leadership withdrew the measure.
The tactic effectively highlighted the “absolute insanity of what they were trying to do,” Lyons said, noting it is an indisputable biological fact that humans are male or female. “To use driver’s licenses to promote a political agenda is not what we should be doing.”
“Rep. Lyons called their bluff and demonstrated where the logic of this uncoupling of identity from reality ultimately leads,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.
When asked what kind of feedback he received from his House colleagues, Lyons said, “I can’t tell you how many Democrats came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Jim, thank you very much. I didn’t want to vote on that anyhow.’” —K.C.