Judge Orders Idaho Officials to Allow Transgender Individuals to Amend Sex on Birth Certificate

This week, a federal judge ruled that an Idaho policy was unconstitutional because it blocked transgender individuals from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates.

“Mismatches between identification documents and outward gender presentation can create risks to the health and safety of transgender people,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale said, according to The Washington Times.

Dale ordered Idaho, whose policy only allowed birth certificate changes in the event of a mistake, to allow transgender individuals to make those changes by April 6. In an effort to protect privacy, the new birth certificates will not contain a mark signifying the change.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare conceded its own policy didn’t adhere to the Constitution’s equal protection clause but said the court needed to issue an order for a policy change.

Lamda Legal, a legal defense organization for LGBT individuals, filed the lawsuit on behalf of two transgender individuals.

“Essential identity documents should accurately reflect who you are, and the court recognized that the government cannot rob transgender people of this basic tool to navigate through life,” Peter Renn, an attorney for the organization, reportedly said.

“With this change, transgender Idahoans will no longer be forced to represent that they are someone they are not and jeopardize their privacy and safety,” he added.

F.V., one of the transgender plaintiffs, was “thrilled” about the decision: “I am thrilled and proud that my own state will be updating their policies, even though it required a court order to do so.”

But Travis Weber, a lawyer with Family Research Council, argued Dale’s reasoning was flawed and suggested the decision was just the latest in a series of wrongheaded court decisions regarding LGBT issues.

“This latest opinion is but one of many in what is by now a familiar string of LGBT-issues decisions issued by judges who’ve decided the result they want to reach before examining the law, and then craft “’reasoning’ to arrive at that result,” Weber said in a statement provided to IJR.

Idaho wasn’t the first state to consider birth certificate changes. As Independent Journal Review previously reported, Washington state officials weighed including a gender “X” option for birth certificates.

According to CNN, the state decided to enact option as a policy. The state’s Department of Health defined “X” as:

A gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, genderfluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, Two Spirit, and unspecified.

The state also reportedly allowed individuals to change their birth certificate sex from male to female after receiving a doctor’s approval.

The ruling came amid a broader debate about transgenderism and as President Donald Trump’s administration pursued policies that angered pro-LGBT advocates.

The Education Department, for example, confirmed it would no longer investigate transgender students’ complaints about bathroom access. And at the end of last month, the Pentagon said that a transgender individual joined the military despite Trump’s attempt to ban new admissions for them.

The Education Department said discrimination, under federal law, didn’t include separating students on the basis of sex.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include comment from the Family Research Council.

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