Court Ruling Will Allow Idaho Transgender People To Alter Birth Certificates

Mar 6, 2018

A court decision will change the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's policy of automatic denial of requests to change the sex on birth certificates.
Credit SalFalko / Flickr

A ruling this week in favor of two transgender women will allow individuals to change the sex listed on their birth certificates. That’s a significant change in policy from Idaho’s former automatic denial of such requests.

The plaintiffs claim the policy of the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to categorically deny requests to change the sex on a birth certificate violates their Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Court documents say one of the women felt living with a birth certificate that categorizes her as male is a painful reminder the state doesn’t recognize her as she is.

The Statesman reports the defendants in the suit – three administrators with Health and Welfare – agree a policy of automatic rejection is unfair. But they say they’d need a court order to get around strict guidelines on birth certificates set by the state. In Idaho, birth certificates must reflect the sex of a person at birth.

The ruling said including a way for people to align their birth certificate with their gender identity promotes health and wellbeing without infringing on the rights of others.

The Department of Health and Welfare will begin accepting applications to change birth certificates in April. Alterations aren’t a sure thing; petitions will have to be reviewed and approved.

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