Idaho Transgender Birth Certificate Ban Bill Headed To Governor's Desk

Mar 18, 2020

In the waning days of the 2020 Idaho legislative session, state senators are rolling the dice on a bill that would ban transgender people from changing their birth certificates, something that's almost certainly to be challenged in court.

The bill passed along party lines in the Senate Tuesday, with some Republicans acknowledging they’re taking a legal risk by passing it. Still, they say it’s important to maintain these statistics for public health reasons.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare used to have a similar blanket ban on letting transgender people change the sex on their birth certificates. That policy was struck down by a federal court two years ago as unconstitutional.

An opinion from the state attorney general’s office found that the bill headed to the governor’s desk would be “unlikely” to hold up in court. It also expects to spend more than $1 million defending it.

Lamda Legal, the group that filed the lawsuit against the state in 2017, urged Gov. Brad Little to veto the bill.

The advocacy group said, “Idaho lawmakers might as well try to tear down the federal courthouse if they have this much contempt for the rule of law.”

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