Idaho Lawmakers Challenge Transgender Birth Certificate Court Ruling With New Bill

Feb 14, 2020

Transgender Idahoans would no longer be able to change the gender marker on their birth certificate to align with their gender identity under a new bill introduced Thursday. That proposal flies in the face of a federal court order from 2018.

At the time, federal district judge Candy Dale said the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s policy against changing a person’s gender marker on their birth certificate was unconstitutional. Dale ruled the state was violating transgender people’s 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

A new bill from Rep. Julianne Young (R-Blackfoot) would implement a policy similar to the one that was declared unconstitutional.

“Identification of biological sex on a birth certificate impacts the health and safety of all individuals,” the bill reads. Her proposal says failing to record a person’s sex assigned at birth would be a “breach of the public trust.”

“We are saying that these statistics matter to the government in the important roles and functions that we fill as a state, that these statistics matter to individuals and that they also matter to society in general,” Young said.

Her bill challenges the idea that it would violate the 14th Amendment, saying the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit laws that apply a “biology-based definition of sex that has been consistently applied since our nation’s founding.”

Under the bill, parents or legal guardians can only amend the birth certificate within one year of its filing and it can only change pieces of information if it “incorrectly represents a material fact at the time of birth.”

Should a person be born intersex, meaning they have ambiguous genitalia or variations of sex chromosomes, the birth certificate could be changed after a doctor’s exam and genetic analysis.

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, the group’s political arm, issued a statement. It says, “It is abundantly clear that our republican-led [sic] legislature is in a race to the bottom” to discriminate against LGBTQ people, among others.

Young’s bill joins two other transgender-related bills introduced this week: one would make it a felony to provide sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to minors and another would ban trans women from competing on sports teams segregated by sex.

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