Judge Rules Idaho Cannot Deny Amended Birth Certificates to Men Who Identify as Women
A federal judge has ruled that the State of Idaho cannot legally decline to issue amended birth certificates to those who suffer from gender dysphoria, concluding that refusals violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“Defendants … violate the Equal Protection Clause by failing to provide an avenue for transgender people to amend the sex listed on their birth certificates,” wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale. “Plaintiffs have sufficiently demonstrated that they have suffered irreparable injury and harm that cannot be remedied by ordinary remedies at law.”
Last July, Lambda Legal filed suit against the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) on behalf of two men who identify as women in an effort to force the state to change the men’s birth certificates. Both have had their name and sex changed on their driver’s licenses and social security records, and now would like to have their birth certificates amended as well.
Both have been turned down due to state policies.
“I just want a birth certificate that accurately reflects who I am,” one of the plaintiffs, only being identified as F.V., said in a statement after the legal challenge was filed. “I hope that Idaho will give me the dignity of deciding when complete strangers get to know deeply private information about my life. Like so many transgender people, I’ve been on the receiving end of harassment and outright violence. It costs Idaho nothing to correct this piece of paper and recognize me as the woman that I am.”
On Monday, Judge Dale sided with Lambda Legal and the complainants, issuing an injunction against any further denials, which she said had “no justification.”
“IDHW permits some classes of people, adoptive parents for instance, to make amendments to birth certificates without record of the amendment on the reissued certificate. IDHW has similar laws and policies related to the change of paternal information. These laws give certain people access to birth certificates that accurately reflect who they are, while denying transgender people, as a class, access to birth certificates that accurately reflect their gender identity,” she wrote.
Dale gave the State the deadline of April 6 to begin accepting applications for amended birth certificates. The new certificates cannot include any indication that the person’s name and sex had been altered.