Idaho governor signs two bills aimed at limiting transgender individuals

Idaho governor signs two bills aimed at limiting transgender individuals
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Idaho passed two anti-transgender bills, with Gov. Brad Little. (R) approving legislation to prohibit sex changes on birth certificates and bans on transgender girls and women from competing in women's sports leagues, according to CBS.

The deadline to veto the measures was Tuesday, which is also International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho released a statement saying that the legislation discriminates against transgender people while invading the privacy of Idaho students.

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"It distracts from the urgent need for the State of Idaho to focus its attention on the global pandemic, COVID-19," the ACLU added.

The new birth certificate policy ignores a 2018 federal court ruling that deemed the banning of birth certificate sex changes violates the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, a legal defense fund that represented two transgender women whose suit led to the 2018 court ruling, explained that there was already a ruling on the birth certificate policy. Should the government enforce it, they would be in contempt of court. 

He added that ramifications of contempt of court could be "quite furious" surrounding the new laws. 

The Idaho attorney general's office warned it could cost up to $1 million if the state defended the ban and lost.

The newly passed law goes into effect July 1, with backers saying the policy necessary so the state maintains accurate birth records.

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The sports ban applies to all teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities, stating that a girls' or women's team would not be accessible for transgender students who identify as girls or women.

Backers claimed the law is needed to maintain fair and balanced matches, citing transgender women athletes having physical advantages.

Opponents of the policy say the bill discriminates against transgender girls and women, subjecting athletes to invasive gender testing that could cause some athletes to avoid trying out for teams.

The ACLU said it is prepared to file a lawsuit if the measure is signed and enacted.

"If House Bill 500 [on school sports] does become law, our organization is prepared to sue," said Kathy Griesmyer, policy director for the ACLU. 

This year, the U.S. saw more than 40 bills introduced across various states targeting transgender youth. Nearly half of the measures aim to ban transgender girls from competing in girls' sports leagues, while the other bills target gender-transition medical treatment for minors.