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Montana not following transgender birth certificate ruling – The Journal

It’s been a month since a Montana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a law that required transgender people to undergo surgery before they could change sex on their birth certificate.

HELEN, Mont. (AP) – It’s been a month since a Montana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a state law that required transgender people to undergo surgery before they could change sex on their birth certificate, and the state is still not in compliance with the court order, the ACLU of Montana said.

Jon Ebelt, spokesman for the state health department, said the agency is still working with the Justice Department to review the April 21 ruling and its implications. He did not respond to an email asking if that meant the state was assessing whether to appeal the order.

“We have continued to be patient in allowing the state time to comply with the court-ordered preliminary injunction,” the ACLU of Montana said in a recent statement. “However, nearly a month has passed and the state’s willful indifference to the order is inexcusable.”

Montana is among a growing list of Republican-controlled states that have taken steps to restrict transgender rights, including requiring student-athletes to participate in sports based on their sex assigned at birth or by making it illegal to treat transgender minors with hormones or puberty blockers. .

Starting in late 2017, transgender residents could apply to change the gender on their Montana birth certificate by filing an affidavit with the health department. District Court Judge Michael Moses’ order requires the state to return to this process while the challenge to the new law is pending.

“The state’s denial demonstrates its disrespect for the judiciary and its utter disregard for Montana’s transgender people who seek birth certificates that accurately indicate what they know their gender to be,” the statement said. ‘ACLU.

If the state continues to violate the preliminary injunction, ACLU of Montana staff attorney Akila Lane said the organization will ask the court to intervene.

“We are only seeking state compliance” with the preliminary injunction, Lane said Friday.

A week after the ruling was released, Billings attorney Colin Gersten inquired about an updated sex designation request form on behalf of a friend. The Vital Statistics Office responded, saying: “We will contact you once we are able to discuss your options.”

Gersten asked another question about the proper form on May 11 and did not receive a response, according to emails shared with The Associated Press.

Many transgender people choose not to have gender confirmation surgery. Such procedures are sometimes deemed unnecessary or too costly, argued two transgender Montanans in their July 2021 trial.

Republican Senator Carl Glimm, who sponsored the legislation, argued that the Department of Public Health and Human Services overstepped its authority in 2017 by changing the designation on a birth certificate from “sex” to “gender,” then establishing rules by which the designation could be changed.

Half of the states, plus the District of Columbia, allow transgender residents to change the gender designation on their birth certificates without a surgical requirement or court order, according to the political organization Movement Advancement Project. Just over a dozen states require surgery, and such barriers are contested in several states, including Montana.

In recent years, other laws have targeted transgender people and new laws are being challenged in court.

Alabama passed a law making it a crime to prescribe puberty blockers and gender-confirming hormones to transgender minors, but a judge blocked the law. In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has ordered child protection officials to investigate parents of children receiving puberty blockers and other gender-confirming care as potential abuse. This too was blocked by a judge.

At least a dozen states have recently passed laws banning transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports, most recently Utah.

FILE – In this March 15, 2021, file photo, demonstrators gather on the steps of the Montana State Capitol to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Helena, Mont. It’s been a month since a judge in Montana temporarily blocked enforcement of a state law that required transgender people to undergo surgery before they could change sex on their birth certificate, and the state no It’s still not in compliance with the court order, the ACLU of Montana said. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP, File)