A federal court has overturned an Idaho
law that made it impossible for transgender people to change their
gender marker on a birth certificate.
The “Idaho Vital Statistics Act” or
House Bill 509 was signed into law by Republican Governor Brad Little
in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. District Court for Idaho said
that the law violated a permanent injunction issued in 2018.
The Idaho Department of Health and
Welfare's (IDHW) enforcement of HB 509 “denies transgender
individuals a meaningful process for changing the sex listed on their
birth certificates to reflect their gender identity,” wrote Judge
Candy W. Dale. “This violates the injunction's directive
prohibiting IDHW from categorically rejecting applications from
transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth
certificates and its mandate that IDHW allow such applications.”
Lambda Legal sued Idaho in 2017 over
its discriminatory policy and the court granted a permanent
injunction the following year. Lawmakers responded with House Bill
509, which Dale described as “directly at odds with the clear
intent and mandate” of the court's injunction.
“It is astonishing that the Idaho
legislature and Gov. Little plowed forward with resuscitating this
dangerous and archaic ban in direct defiance of multiple court orders
that repeatedly ordered the government to stop discriminating against
transgender people and placing them in harm’s way,” Nora Huppert,
a Renberg Fellow and attorney with Lambda Legal, said in a statement.
“The court could not have been clearer: What was discriminatory in
2018 remains discriminatory today. Idaho officials may not block
transgender people from obtaining identity documents that reflect who
they are. This law seeks to deny the very existence of transgender
people by stripping them of their identity.”
The ruling is the second win for
transgender rights advocates in one week. A separate federal court on
Friday ruled in favor of a transgender student who had been denied
use of the bathroom of his choice.
court cites Bostock
in siding with transgender student.)