A federal judge in Idaho on Monday ruled the state can’t bar people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates. U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale said rules that prohibited someone from changing their birth certificate violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution and served no rational purpose.
“A rule providing an avenue to obtain a birth certificate with a listed sex that aligns with an individual’s gender identity promotes the health, well-being, and safety of transgender people without impacting the rights of others,” Dale wrote.
Dale ordered Idaho to begin taking applications to change the sex on birth certificates by April 6, noting that the reissued certificates cannot include a record of the switch.
The plaintiffs in the case, both men who identify as women, said they faced harassment and hostility when they had to present identification that did not reflect their appearance.
Before the ruling, Idaho was one of just four states, including Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee, that prohibited people from changing the sex on their birth certificates. Other states such as Alabama allow a change but issue an amended birth certificate with the change noted.
Dale’s written decision acknowledged that sex is biological, while gender identity is an “intrinsic sense.” She also acknowledged birth certificates designate sex rather than gender. Although her ruling contained all the facts necessary for a reasonable decision, she ignored them, according to Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council.
“Unfortunately, this judge substituted her own hazy (but politically correct) philosophy for a straightforward reading of the law,” Sprigg said, noting the decision reflected a “purely metaphysical view that the mind is everything and the body is nothing when it comes to deciding who is male or female.” —K.C.