Montana allows transgender people to apply to change their birth certificate

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Montana allows transgender people to apply to change their birth certificate

AP - The state health department restored the ability for transgender people to apply to correct the gender marker on their Montana birth certificate after a judge blocked enforcement of a law that would have required them to have surgery first.

The gender designation forms are available on the department's website.

The time it takes to process an application for a birth certificate, or a correction, can take several months depending on the circumstances, such as the complexity of the request and how much communication is needed to clarify information, said Jon Ebelt, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Montana is required to process applications after District Judge Michel Moses imposed a temporary injunction against the state law that would have required transgender residents to have undergone a surgical procedure before changing their sex on their birth certificate.

Moses said the law was unconstitutionally vague in April and temporarily blocked its enforcement while the court case continued. The state did not begin accepting applications, but passed a rule saying that nobody could change the sex on their birth record if there was a clerical error.

Moses issued a written order on Monday threatening to hold the state in contempt if they did not follow his instructions to return to the 2017 rule that allowed people to change the gender designation on their birth certificate by submitting an affidavit saying they have undergone gender transition or have an intersex condition.

The state said it would comply with the order.

The court challenge to the 2021 law continues while the Moses ruling remains in effect. The trial is scheduled for August 2023, according to Alex Rate, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana.

As of mid-day Thursday, no applications requesting a gender designation change had been returned to the state Vital Records department.