News (USA)

Angry judge blocks Montana’s latest attempt to stop trans people correcting their birth certificates

A birth certificate
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A Montana judge has decided that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) cannot prevent trans people from updating their birth certificates.

District Court Judge Michael Moses struck down a new rule instituted by DPHHS that said a person’s sex listed on a birth certificate can now only be changed if it was incorrectly entered by a “data entry error” or if “the sex of the individual was misidentified on the original certificate and the department receives a correction affidavit and supporting documents, … including a copy of the results of chromosomal, molecular, karyotypic, DNA, or genetic testing that identify the sex of the individual.”

According to Moses, this restrictive rule was in direct violation of his April order that blocked a state law requiring state residents to undergo a non-specified “surgical procedure” before they could change the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Montana’s Republican-led legislature passed this law, S.B. 280, in April 2021. Prior to the law, DPHHS said in 2017 that transgender residents could change the gender marker on their birth certificates if they were intersex, had undergone “a gender transition,” or had a certified court order indicating that their gender had been changed.

In April, Moses said the law’s requirement of an unspecified surgical procedure made it impossible for anyone to follow. The judge then issued a temporary injunction against S.B. 280, blocking it from going into effect.

And now, with Moses blocking the health department’s latest attempt at anti-trans policies, the 2017 rule making it easier to update one’s birth certificate is now in effect, reports the Associated Press.

Moses was not happy that DPHHS officials tried to get around his original ruling blocking S.B. 280, saying he had been “clear as a bell.”

“I’m a bit offended the department thinks they can do anything they want,” Moses said.

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