A Utah legislator is expected to introduce a bill to ban transgender people from updating their birth certificates.
Utah Representative Merrill Nelson (R) said he plans to introduce a bill would define sex based on “the innate and immutable characteristics established at conception” and ban anyone from changing their birth certificates for almost any reason.
The bill defines “female” as someone who at birth has ovaries and the “external anatomical characteristics that appear to have the purpose of performing the natural reproductive function of providing eggs and receiving sperm from a male donor.”
A “male” newborn is someone who has testes and the “reproductive function of providing and delivering sperm to a female recipient.”
The bill also allows for a person’s sex to be listed as “undetermined” and later updated.
Equality Utah called the bill “an egregious attack on the transgender community.”
Nelson is a partner at the firm Kirton McKonkie, the Mormon Church’s official law firm.
But he insists that he’s not motivated by anything other than the integrity of a “vital state record.”
“It is a fiction to say that a man or woman can change their sex,” he said.
Utah Senator Ralph Okerlund (R) introduced a similar measure in the state senate.
“It’s a vital statistic, one that’s created when a person is born,” he said. “What is a physical fact at birth, gender, is put on the birth certificate and should stay at all times of life.”
All this talk about how birth certificates can never be changed because they only carry biological records associated with a person’s birth came as a surprise to Utah Senator Todd Weiler (R), who pointed out that the state already allows birth certificates to be updated in the case of adoption.
Some judges in Utah currently approve a request to update a transgender person’s birth certificate, although state law is “ambiguous” on the subject.
Last year, Weiler proposed legislation that would have created a process for transgender people to update official documents. His bill failed to pass.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has stressed the importance of being able to update identification documents. Using ID that conflicts with a person’s gender can set them up to be victims of discrimination and violence.
The Utah Supreme Court is currently considering a case in which a trans man is fighting a lower court judge’s denial of his request to update his birth certificate.