2019 | Politics

‘Gender Neutral’ ID Bill Gains Traction in Annapolis

Montgomery lawmaker’s proposal clears House committee review, Senate vote

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Sara Love, left, and Will Smith are sponsoring separate versions of bills that would allow an "X" gender designation on state IDs

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The Montgomery County sponsor of a bill that would allow drivers to designate their gender as “X” on their license said Monday she is optimistic that the legislation will pass after it received a favorable report in a House of Delegates committee.

Del. Sara Love, a Bethesda Democrat, sponsored the House bill to accommodate members of the LGBTQ community who don’t identify as male or female.

After clearing the House Environment and Transportation committee Monday, the proposal will be up for a vote in the full House this week.

A Senate version, sponsored by Silver Spring Democrat Will Smith, passed the chamber last month and has moved to the House, as part of the process for cross-filed bills, Love said.

A similar bill that was filed in the House last year by Montgomery Village Democrat Shane Robinson died in committee.

The legislature adjourns April 8 and Love believes there is enough time to get this year’s bill passed.

“I think there’s a very good chance it could pass this session,” she said.

“There was a lot of discussion with the (Motor Vehicle Administration) prior to the bill passing. The only question was whether they had the system to do it. They will have to get the system up and running,” she said.

Love said her colleagues in the legislature universally agree that adding the gender-neutral designation for licenses and state-issued ID cards makes sense.

“They say they agree with this, and we’re very appreciate we’re moving forward,” she said.

The Senate’s vote was 32 to 14, with the only opposition coming from Republican senators. Minority leader J.B. Jennings, a Harford County Republican, asked during a hearing last month, “Are we going to call them X-men?” while opposing the bill.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com