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Idaho bill barring transgender changes to birth certificates heads to governor

Idaho bill barring transgender changes to birth certificates heads to governor
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The Idaho legislature is asking the governor to sign a bill into law that bans transgender people from modifying their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity, despite federal court rulings that ban such a law. 

The Senate passed the legislation in a 27-6 vote. The state House previously passed the bill.

A federal judge in March 2018 ruled that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. If signed into law, the bill would likely trigger costly lawsuits.

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“I think we all understand what the costs and what the risks are in making the decision to go forward,” Republican state Sen. Jim Rice told The Associated Press.

Supporters of the bill say the bill is necessary so state birth records can remain accurate. Opponents say it’s an attack on the transgender community and a waste of state resources, considering only a small percentage of the population seeks to change their genders on government records. 

“Honestly, for such a small part of the population we are going to be so punitive,” Democratic state Sen. Michelle Stennett told the AP.

Ohio and Tennessee are the only other states in the U.S. where transgender people cannot change their birth certificates, according to Lambda Legal, one of the litigants in the 2018 ruling.

“We urge Governor Little to veto this toxic bill that willfully flouts a court order,” said Lambda Legal staff attorney Kara Ingelhart in a statement“Essential identity documents should accurately reflect who you are, and the federal court in Idaho already recognized that the government cannot rob transgender people of this basic tool to navigate through life. 

“It defies belief that Idaho legislators resurrected this archaic and frankly dangerous policy already declared unconstitutional, and we urge Governor Little to respect the role of the courts in maintaining the rule of law,” the statement continued.