Montana’s state health department have returned the option for transgender people to correct the gender marker on their Montana birth certificate after a judge initially blocked enforcement of a law that would mandate them to have the necessary surgery first.
This law stated that alterations could only be made to a birth certificate if a clerical error had been made. The relevant forms to do this are now available on the state department’s website.
District Judge Michel Moses granted temporary injunction against enforcing the aforementioned law that would require proof of a surgical procedure before transgender residents could make any alterations to their birth certificates.
Moses noted in his ruling that the ruling unconstitutionally vague in April and temporarily blocked it from being enforced while the investigation is being carried out.
The state, Moses said, took part “in needless legal gymnastics to attempt to rationalize their actions and their calculated violations of the order,” calling the state’s interpretation of his earlier order “demonstrably ridiculous.”
On Monday Moses issued a written order which threatened to hold the state in contempt if it did not respect his ruling and return to the 2017 rule that allowed people to change the gender designation on their birth certificate by submitting an affidavit confirming they have undergone gender transition or are intersex.
The state’s health department confirmed on Monday that it would comply with the ruling, however they are considering their next steps.
“The department stands by its actions and analysis concerning the April 2022 preliminary injunction decision, as set forth in its rulemaking that addressed critical regulatory gaps left by the court,” said Jon Ebelt, spokesperson for the health department.
Alex Rate, who is an attorney for ACLU, praised the verdict representing two people who want to change their birth certificates, but vented his frustration at how long the process took.
“It’s unfortunate that it has taken two very clear court orders and many months to comply with the law,” Rate said. “But from the perspective of transgender Montanans who are seeking to obtain accurate identity documents, today’s announcement is certainly progress.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WVLT.TV
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