ACLU says Montana has not complied with court order requiring transgender people to undergo surgery

ACLU says Montana has not complied with court order requiring transgender people to undergo surgery

The ACLU of Montana said that the state still isn't in compliance with the court order after a month since a Montana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a state law that required transgender people to undergo surgery before they can change their gender on their birth certificate.

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

The ACLU of Montana said in a recent statement that the state continued to be patient in allowing the state time to comply with the court ordered preliminary injunction. Close to a month has passed and the State s willful indifference to the court order is inexcusable. Montana is one of a growing list of Republican-controlled states that have been trying to restrict transgender rights, including requiring student-athletes to participate in sports based on their gender assigned at birth or making it illegal for transgender minors to be treated with hormones or puberty blockers.

Transgender residents can file a sworn affidavit with the health department beginning in late 2017, to change the gender on their Montana birth certificate. Judge Michael Moses ordered the state to revert back to that process while the challenge to the new law is pending.

The ACLU said that the state refuses to acknowledge the judiciary and utter disregard for the transgender Montanans who seek to have a birth certificate that accurately indicates what they know their sex to be.

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

We're only looking for the state to comply with the preliminary injunction, Lane said Friday.

Billings attorney Colin Gersten asked about an updated gender designation application form on behalf of a friend a week after the ruling was issued. The Office of Vital Records said they will contact you once they are able to discuss your options. Gersten made another inquiry about the proper form on May 11 and did not receive a reply, according to emails shared with The Associated Press.

Many transgender people don't want to undergo gender-confirmation surgeries. Two transgender Montanans argued in their July 2021 lawsuit that such procedures are sometimes considered unnecessary or too expensive.

Republican state senator Carl Glimm, who sponsored the legislation, has 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 and then setting rules by which the designation could be changed.

The policy organization Movement Advancement Project said half of the states, plus the District of Columbia, allow transgender residents to change the gender designation on their birth certificates without the need for surgical or court orders. In several states, including Montana, there are barriers that are being challenged, and over a dozen states require surgical intervention.

Other legislation has been aimed at the transgender people for the past few years, and the new laws are being challenged in court.

Alabama passed a law making it felony to prescribe gender-confirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors, but a judge has blocked the law. Gov. of Texas. Greg Abbott ordered child welfare officials to investigate the parents of children who received puberty blockers and other gender-confirming care as potential abuse. That was blocked by a judge.

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