By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0 approved and sent to the House a bill that would allow Bay Staters to choose the gender-neutral designation “X” in lieu of “male” or “female” on their birth certificates and marriage certificates.

Another provision in the bill codifies into law a current practice that allows individuals to select “X” as their gender designation on their driver’s license, learner’s permit, identification card and liquor purchase identification card.

In addition, current state law requires medical documentation in order to change a gender designation on a birth certificate. The bill does away with that requirement.

Similar proposals were approved by the Senate during the 2018, 2020 and 2022 sessions but died from inaction in the House.

“People know what gender they are,” said sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “This bill affirms the ability of people to choose a non-binary gender option on state documents and forms, which would align the commonwealth with many other states that have adopted this designation… Together, with our partners in the House, we will continue to move our commonwealth to embrace this basic human right.”

“Giving people the opportunity to be who they are is a human right and one that we are proud to extend to every member of the commonwealth, regardless of how they identify,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) who first introduced the bill in 2017. “Allowing a nonbinary option for state licenses and birth certificates is fundamental to building a society that welcomes, protects and respects all individuals… I am as hopeful as ever that Massachusetts will be able to enshrine this change into our state laws this session and continue welcoming everyone into our commonwealth with open arms.”

Although no senators voted against the bill, there was opposition from some outside groups.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C.J. Doyle called the bill a “malign, non-rational proposal” that will “require the state to affirm and give legal sanction to the ideologically driven delusion that gender is a subjective social construct, which can be altered arbitrarily and capriciously, rather than what it is, which is an objective and immutable biological reality.”

“It will make government a party to this delusion,” continued Doyle. “It will confuse and falsify public records and compel government employees to participate in this falsification. It will result in discrimination in public employment against those who hold a traditional understanding of reality and will make the investigation of offenders more difficult for law enforcement. Section 4 of the bill will essentially empower government bureaucrats who administer programs for youth to proselytize the minors in their care for so-called gender transitioning.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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