A federal judge on Wednesday struck
down as unconstitutional an Ohio policy that prohibits transgender
people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Judge Michael Watson said that the
policy, introduced in 2016, is unconstitutional.
Plaintiffs in the case, Ray v.
McClous, are three transgender individuals who were unable to
update their gender marker under the policy. They are represented by
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of
Ohio, and Thompson Hine.
In his ruling, Watson said that Ohio's
policy violates the equal protection clause of the 14th
“At bottom, the court finds that
defendants' proffered justifications are nothing more than thinly
veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact
of the policy,” Watson wrote.
The ruling leaves Tennessee as the only
state with such a policy, though Ohio officials have not said whether
they will appeal Wednesday's decision.
Lambda Legal applauded Watson's
decision, saying that it brings the United States one step closer to
eradicating such discriminatory policies.
“[Birth certificates] are
foundational to our ability to access a variety of benefits such as
employment and housing, and to navigate the world freely and safely,
as who we truly are,” Lambda Legal attorney Kara Ingelhart said in
a statement. “Courts across the country have overwhelmingly
determined these archaic and harmful laws are unconstitutional and
today we are closer than ever to eradicating them once and for all.”