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Idaho House GOP defines gender as either 'male' or 'female'

The Idaho State Capitol building taken from an upward angle. you can see the American flag, the POW MIA flag and the Idaho State flag.
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio News
A view of the Idaho Capitol dome.

Idaho House Republicans Wednesday overwhelmingly supported legally recognizing “male” and “female” as the only two genders.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Julianne Young (R-Blackfoot), said people can’t choose their gender identity. According to her, it’s a biological truth.

Young said lawmakers need to stand up against court orders or the federal government pushing transgender rights.

“I believe that it is time to no longer be silent about what this body intends when we use a term like male or female in the law,” she said.

Several laws restricting transgender rights in Idaho in recent years – including one previously sponsored by Young – have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Her bill would’ve forbidden transgender individuals from changing the sex listed on their birth certificate, which state officials tried to ban in the past and was overruled.

The judge in the case ordered Idaho to pay plaintiffs more than $320,000 in legal costs.

State officials have appealed some of those cases, which are still pending.

Given that legal landscape, Rep. Mark Sauter (R-Sandpoint) said this bill is premature.

“I feel like this is building on a foundation that’s a little bit sandy, if you will, and I think we should wait and let the courts play out and then make our decision,” Sauter said.

Just two other Republicans joined Sauter in opposing the measure, along with all 11 Democrats.

It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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