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.”
Montana Defies Court Order On Trans Birth Certificates
The Associated Press reports:
Just hours after a Montana judge blocked health officials from enforcing a state rule that would prevent transgender people from changing the gender on their birth certificate, the Republican-run state on Thursday said it would defy the order. District Court Judge Michael Moses chided attorneys for the state during a hearing in Billings for circumventing his April order that temporarily blocked a 2021 Montana law that made it harder to change birth certificates.
The Montana law said people had to have a “surgical procedure” before they could change the sex listed on their birth certificate, something Moses found to be unconstitutional because it did not specify what type of procedure was required. Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration then created a new rule that blocked changes to birth certificates entirely, unless there was a clerical error.
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