Montana Says It Will Disregard Ruling On Transgender Birth Certificates

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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Montana authorities vowed Thursday to defy a court order blocking enforcement of a rule that would prevent people from changing the sex on their birth certificate, The Washington Post reports.

In April, District Court Judge Michael Moses temporarily blocked a 2021 law banning people from altering the sex on their birth certificates unless “the sex of the person born in Montana has been changed by surgical procedure.” Moses said the law was too vague because it did not specify which surgical procedure must be performed, according to the Post. (RELATED: FBI Announces Arrest Over Bomb Threat At Boston Children’s Hospital)

Attorneys for the state attempted to circumvent the judge’s order on Sept. 9 by implementing the policy in the form of a rule issued by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, but Moses ruled Thursday that the new rule still violated his April ruling, The Washington Times reported.

Just hours later, the Montana state legislature said it would defy the judge’s order, according to the Times.

“The Department thoroughly evaluated the judge’s vague April 2022 decision and crafted our final rule to be consistent with the decision. It’s unfortunate that the judge’s ruling today does not square with his vague April decision,” Charlie Brereton, director of the state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services, said in defiance of the judge’s order, according to multiple outlets. Brereton also said the rule would remain in place and that the department would evaluate its options after seeing Moses’ written order, the Post reported.

ACLU attorney Malita Picasso expressed concern with the state’s decision to defy the judge’s order.

“It’s shocking that after this morning’s hearing the department would allege there was any lack of clarity in the court’s ruling from the bench,” Picasso said, according to the Post. “It was very clear that Judge Moses expressly required a reversion to the 2017 policy, and anything short of that is a continued flagrant violation of the court’s order.”

According to the Times, the 2017 policy allowed people to change the sex on their birth certificates by filing an affidavit with Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services — no surgery required.