The Daughters of the American Revolution is not an organization typically associated with controversy or operating under much public scrutiny outside its acts of charity and service. That’s all changed recently as the Cheyenne DAR chapter feuds with the national organization — and itself — over a clarification in policy to allow transgender women.
This includes a directed effort over the past month to remove Cheyenne Regent Judy Lindsay from her leadership position in the local chapter because of her vocalized opposition to a new DAR policy that says transgender women are allowed to participate.
During the national group’s annual Continental Congress meeting in June, a bylaw change was approved to read that the group accepts transgender members who meet other requirements and have had their birth certificates changed to female, a legal act in Wyoming and all but three other states.
Lindsay believes transgender women are men and she opposes the policy change.
“There is NOT a bylaw that states membership is open to males/men,” Lindsay wrote in a letter to DAR State Regent Lorrie White. “I am fighting to keep DAW a society for females only.”
The bylaw change also removed a line that allowed DAR chapters to reject applicants as they saw fit and replaced it with nondiscriminatory language.
Although Lindsay and others protested the change, it passed by an “overwhelming majority,” according to national DAR leaders. Only a voice vote was taken on the matter.
Previously, becoming eligible for the group was based on a woman proving her lineage of descent from a man or woman who had “unfailing loyalty” to American independence, served as a sailor, soldier or civil officer in the several colonies or states, or was a recognized patriot during the Revolutionary War.
Mike Lindsay, Judy Lindsay’s husband, said no transgender women have sought membership into the Cheyenne chapter.
This summer, Judy Lindsay gave interviews and information to two national news outlets about the bylaw change and the controversy it is sparking among members. A third news organization, Newsweek, didn’t directly speak to Lindsay but cited her from a Daily Signal story.
She also wrote an op-ed for The Federalist in August. After inquiring with DAR President General Pamela Wright during the Continental Congress, Lindsay said she confirmed that the birth certificate and anti-discrimination changes were made to clarify the group’s pre-existing policies and protect its tax-exempt, nonprofit status.
Lindsay has argued the IRS has no such requirements for anti-discrimination policies. She sent a letter to Wright, asking that the organization get a legal opinion on whether this step was necessary for tax purposes and that she believes the “bylaw pushes a radical, liberal agenda.”
Video from the Continental Congress in June shows Wright saying, “If a person’s birth certificate says they are a female, and you vote against them based on their protected class, it’s discrimination.”
In an August email sent to Lindsay that was provided to Cowboy State Daily, a national DAR staff member clarified that a chapter could still reject a prospective member if it is believed the person would be “disruptive.”
In a September email to Cheyenne chapter members, White explained that the organization has been accused of discrimination in the past and “have spent decades overcoming that perception.”
White cited one particular incident involving a Pathway of the Patriots exhibit where every person honored was white, which drew public criticism.
Lindsay said within a few weeks of the bylaw change, chapter members across the country began to learn about its implications and reacted with outrage.
“They reject transgender ideology, which demands that they see so-called gender as a fluid concept,” Lindsay explained in The Federalist.
DAR spokesperson Bren Landon confirmed to Newsweek in July that the bylaw did cause some to quit the historically all-female organization, but of the group’s 190,000 active members, fewer than 30 resigned because of it.
One who quit was Cheyenne chapter member Pam Imig, who wrote in her resignation that DAR has “chosen a path contrary to my biblical faith-held beliefs.”
The national organization put out a statement to members after the bylaw change, saying that the group will continue to accept members of Revolutionary War service descent and “a certified birth certificate indicating they are female.”
Lindsay said that members who have insisted on getting answers from their national leadership have been accused of spreading “misinformation” and purposely causing dissent within the group, which is forbidden under the group’s bylaws.
In her September email, White backs up this account, saying that certain members misunderstood the bylaw change and “chose to contact national media with misinformation which was disrespectful to our National Society and our President General.”
Although the Cheyenne chapter voted on a proposal that would have pushed the national organization to define “woman” as a biological female, this vote ended in an 11-11 tie and failed to pass.
White told DAR members in an email that the Cheyenne vote was illegal because once a bylaw is passed at a national level, a contradictory bylaw can’t be created at a state or local level.
Mike Lindsay, Judy’s Lindsay’s husband, said this question will be brought up by the Cheyenne chapter at a meeting Saturday.
Troubles On The Home Front
In a letter sent to Wyoming statewide DAR officers, Lindsay said she is being accused by state and national DAR members of violating the organization’s bylaws and rules for speaking out against the bylaw change.
During a Sept. 5 meeting, a vote was taken by the local chapter’s executive board to request Lindsay’s resignation, which failed on a 4-4 vote.
Mike Lindsay said a special meeting was then improperly held later in the month in an effort to remove his wife from her role as regent of the Cheyenne chapter while the couple was traveling abroad in Spain.
“I find it ironic that while I am being accused of violating bylaws and rules that in the rush to remove me as Regent many bylaws and rules are being violated and broken,” Judy Lindsay wrote in a letter.
Mike Lindsay pointed out in a document provided to Cowboy State Daily that no investigative committee has been organized to look into allegations of misconduct against his wife, which is a typical procedure under Robert’s Rules of Order.
Judy Lindsay also said in an email that a resolution came out of the special meeting that doesn’t reflect the actual motion that was passed, listing specific violations that it treats as fact.
“Listing those things as fact before adjudication is forbidden by Robert’s Rules … and to quote Robert’s Rules ‘’may constitute libel,’” Judy Lindsay writes. “This is a very serious breach of NSDAR (National Society Daughters of the American Revolution) procedure and potentially places anyone who acts on it on shaky legal ground.”
As a result of this meeting, she said a motion was passed to ask the national organization to change her membership status from the Cheyenne chapter to member at-large. Mike Lindsay said no action was taken on this request at a national DAR meeting last weekend.
Judy Lindsay implored the state and national DAR in an email to disregard the outcome of the special meeting, saying those who have tried to remove her as chapter leader have a “personal vendetta against” her.
She also argued that neither she nor the executive board received a written request to call the meeting, which she said is required by the bylaws.
‘A Dangerous Path’
An email provided to Cowboy State Daily shows that four chapter board members called the second meeting, which was held via Zoom. The members said the purpose of the meeting was to remove Judy Lindsay as chapter regent for publicizing the bylaw issue to the public at large in the media “in an effort to create disharmony, dictate policy, or harm the good name of the entire national society.”
As a nonprofit, the organization is not allowed to become involved in politics or take official ideological stances.
According to the board members, only the DAR president general can make public statements for and about the society.
“The subsequent events began a dangerous path which has now spiraled to dividing chapter members and causing many to submit their resignation or transfer letters,” the board members write in the meeting invitation. “This discord brought into our chapter is growing daily as it has brought politics and differing ideologies into a chapter setting where they do not belong.”
The board members say anyone with a serious disagreement with Judy Lindsay’s personal views has been ignored at meetings and that her continued leadership threatens future membership for what they believe amounts to possible defamation. The members warn that the Cheyenne chapter’s charter could be withdrawn by the national organization “if we do not immediately face the issue in front of us.”
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.