A Massachusetts Republican found a unique way to defeat a bill that would have added a third gender to the state’s driver’s licenses: He forced Democrats to hold an individual vote on 73 specific genders.
The ploy by state Rep. Jim Lyons took place on the final day of the legislative session (July 31), with House Democrats needing to pass bills prior to midnight. One of those bills would have placed a “Gender X” on driver’s licenses alongside “male” and “female.”
Knowing that Democrats had the numbers to pass the bill on a straight vote, Lyons decided to make them take a stand on 73 specific genders. Why 73? That’s the number he found on Facebook, according to Boston Herald radio host and columnist Howie Carr, who applauded Lyons’ tactic. The Democrats couldn’t vote against any of the amendments, Carr wrote, because they otherwise would be admitting that the bill “was preposterous on its face.”
“We can’t discriminate, he archly informed them,” Carr wrote. “This is Massachusetts. Gender is an evolving paradigm, to coin a phrase. All genders must be protected. Equal protection under the law.”
Amendment 7 would have added a gender “cis” to the driver’s license, amendment 9 a “cis female,” amendment 13 a “cis woman,” amendment 14 a “cisgender female” and amendment 18 a “cisgender woman.” It continued: amendment 21 would have added “gender fluid,” amendment 22 “gender non-conforming,” amendment 23 “gender questioning” and amendment 24 “gender variant.”
Each amendment required 10 minutes of debate. Finally, Democrats pulled the bill at 10:45 p.m.
“He had already filed 35 of his 73 amendments — six hours’ worth of debates and votes — when leadership threw in the towel,” Carr wrote. “They ordered Gender X back … into the closet.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Kirsty Lee