House Narrowly Fails to Recognize Biological Sex

HB 1180—State Recognition of Biological Sex—Defeated by Only 8 Votes

Last week the House, including many Republicans, voted to table HB 1180, a move that could prove disastrous for women in New Hampshire by removing the state’s ability to make any determinations based on biological sex.

New Hampshire currently has very liberal laws regarding gender and state ID, allowing Granite Staters to freely select whatever gender they choose on their driver’s licenses. Elsewhere in the country, liberal federal courts are interpreting similar state laws to mean that any distinction between the sexes must be made according to state documents alone—in other words, whatever an individual claims to be their subjective self-determination with no regards to physical or biological reality. 

In order to prevent these kinds of abusive interpretations, Rep. Linda Gould and other women legislators courageously introduced HB 1180: “relative to state recognition of biological sex.” 

This bill has no impact on how  any school board or state agency makes their current policies. Instead, it would have protected our option to distinguish between biological sex by clarifying that public entities retain the ability to use biological sex as a factor when making decisions about athletics, incarceration, and other areas. It simply allows agencies to recognize biological sex if they wish. We can’t think of  a bill that could have been milder or less threatening to even the most committed gender identity ideologues.  

The House did correctly vote against the committee amendment that, while well-intended, violated the intent of the bill. However, the House vote to table the bill in its original form and set it aside was essentially a decision to remove biological sex as a recognized legal category in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, all House Democrats and 14 Republicans have essentially affirmed they believe that assignments in athletics, incarceration, and other areas must be made on the basis of self-declared gender identity alone, without regard to whether someone has received gender reassignment surgery or even hormonal medication. In California, this position has led to a scenario where multiple men with male genitals are the intimate cellmates of incarcerated women.

The Republicans who voted to help bring this kind of inflexible cruelty to New Hampshire include representatives Joe Alexander, Cody Belanger, Kevin Craig, Joseph Depalma, Brodie Deshaies, Ned Gordon, John Graham, Juliet Harvey-Bolia, Claire Rouillard, Robert Theberge, Dennis Thompson, Karen Umberger, Nick White, and Dan Wolf. As a result, the decision to table HB 1180 was made by a margin of only 8 votes.

Please thank the other Republicans—167 of them: 49% of voting representatives—who voted to protect women and girls by supporting the state’s ability to continue considering biological sex. We are especially grateful to prime sponsor Rep. Linda Gould, and for the leadership on the House floor of representatives Mark Pearson, Erica Layon, and Dennis Acton. Cornerstone is grateful for Karoline Leavitt’s passionate support of the bill.

The narrow defeat and tabling of HB 1180 followed a one-sided debate in which three Democrats spoke consecutively against the bill, while Republicans were barely allowed any time to defend the bill before the vote was called. It is undemocratic that a measure supported by 49% of New Hampshire’s elected representatives was not even given a debate in the People’s House. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is increasing awareness of the negative consequences of inflexible application of self-described gender labels, particularly when it comes to areas of intimacy and competition. Girls and women are at real emotional and physical risk, and this is not conjecture, but being proven in real time. The tabling of HB 1180 is a temporary setback. Ultimately, the convoluted logic of gender ideology will collapse under its own weight. It’s already happening. Momentum nationwide and in New Hampshire is overwhelmingly on our side.

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