Idaho seeing applications to change birth certificate gender

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho has received nearly 30 applications from people requesting changes to their birth certificates to properly reflect their identities since a federal judge ruled rejecting applications was illegal.

The Department of Health and Welfare says 28 applications have been submitted since the state implemented the new rule in April.

The judge’s decision stated reissued birth certificates can’t include a record of the gender having been changed.

In this Jan. 19, 2007, file photo, visitors leave the James A. McClure Federal Building & United States Courthouse in downtown Boise, Idaho. A federal judge says Idaho can’t continue automatically rejecting applications from transgender people seeking to change the gender listed on their birth certificates. The judge said Monday, March 5, 2018, that the state’s rules violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (AP Photo/Troy Maben)

Most states had already allowed such changes. Idaho was one of four — including Kansas, Ohio and Tennessee — that prohibited transgender people from changing their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity.

The department also received a handful of public comments on the new rule change, with the majority urging the state not to allow birth certificate amendments.

This new law would erase any record that sex on a birth certificate has been amended and compromises the accuracy of state records,” wrote Brittany Jones, interim policy director for the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho. “It allows the new birth certificate to supersede and become an original birth certificate.”

Others also argued against changing the records.

“I’m not anti-LGBTQ. I voted for and campaign to allow gay marriage in Utah. What I am against is the changing of medical history of patients,” wrote Chuck Crosthwait of Idaho Falls. “Accept who you are and respect that the people who are charged with your medical care have your best interests in mind.”

Three people submitted comments in favor of the rule change.

One cannot live a fully empowered life without embracing who they are,” wrote Stephanie Allen of Boise. “This small rule will have a bigger impact than you can imagine for so many Idaho citizens.”

Under the state’s health and welfare agency’s new administrative rules, people seeking to change their birth certificate gender are required to submit a notarized application that includes a declaration that the registrant’s indicator of sex on their birth certificate.

If the applicant is younger than 18, the notarized application must include consent from both parents. If a parent can’t be found, then the minor would need court approval to use just one parent’s approval.

In Idaho, administrative rules are created by executive agencies to enforce state laws and carry the same weight as laws. The birth certificate gender rule implemented by the agency must still be approved by the Idaho Legislature.

It’s unclear how much resistance the Republican-dominated Statehouse may object to adopting the new rules even though the state has been directed by a federal judge to do so. State Rep. Heather Scott, a Republican from Blanchard, recently called on Idahoans to contact the health and welfare department to object to the rules.

Some of the comments collected by the department cited Scott as a reason for contacting the state, but Scott did not personally submit a comment.

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