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Idaho Judge Rules Transgender People Can Change Birth Certificate To Match Their Gender Identity

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by Grace Carr

A federal judge ruled Monday that people in Idaho can change their birth certificate to match a chosen gender rather instead of biological sex.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled Monday that the state can no longer prevent transgender persons from changing the sex designation listed on birth certificates. The decision comes in response to a 2017 lawsuit where two transgender Idahoans sued the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) for rejecting applications to switch genders on their birth certificates.

The two individuals claimed the state violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights and discriminated against them. The Fourteenth Amendment forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Up until Monday’s ruling, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare would not consider any changes to a birth certificate unless there was a mistake recording a child’s biological sex at birth.

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Dale noted in her ruling that discrepancies between a person’s biological sex and chosen gender on their birth certificate “can create risks to the health and safety of transgender people.” She ruled it unconstitutional to bar an individual from using a preferred gender on their birth certificate.

However, it is not guaranteed that applications will be approved. An application that does pass an approval process will result in a reissued birth certificate without any record of name changes or amendments to the original document.

“The Court understood that the state’s ban against transgender people correcting their birth certificates was archaic, unjust, and discriminatory,” Peter Renn, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal, said, according to the Huffington Post.

“We are in the process of reviewing it and determining our next steps,” IDHW spokesperson Niki Forbing-Orr said according to the Idaho Statesman.

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