Court Battles

Judge rules against Idaho’s ban on changing transgender birth certificates

Judges use a small wooden mallet to signal for attention or order.

An Idaho law that bars transgender people from altering the gender on their birth certificates is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale had ruled that state officials could not implement such a law in 2018, and on Friday ruled against a new law with similar provisions, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

The law, signed by Gov. Brad Little (R), required anyone seeking to change the gender on their birth certificate to obtain a court order, but they can only seek such an order if the listing on their birth certificate was the result of fraud or a mistake. The law took effect July 1.

On Friday, Dale ruled the law violates her 2018 court order by imposing the same provisions she ruled against.

“The plain language of the statute, as quoted, forecloses any avenue for a transgender individual to successfully challenge the sex listed on their Idaho birth certificate to reflect their gender identity,” she wrote.

Dale issued the ruling in response to a challenge by LGBTQ legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, which also brought the challenge against the earlier law.

“It is astonishing that the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Little plowed forward with resuscitating this dangerous and archaic ban in direct defiance of multiple court orders that repeatedly ordered the government to stop discriminating against transgender people,” Nora Huppert, an attorney with the group, told NBC. “What was discriminatory in 2018 remains discriminatory today.”

The law is separate from another Idaho law passed this year that bars trans and intersex women and girls from participating in women’s sports. This law is also the subject of pending litigation from Boise State University student Lindsay Hecox, who is prevented from trying out for the women’s cross country team under it.

Several athletes with national profiles, including U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe and tennis legend Billie Jean King, have called on the NCAA to relocate Idaho events due to the law.

The Hill has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

Tags gay and transgender protections Idaho Lambda Legal LGBTQ rights NBC News Transgender
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