Montana health officials have passed a new rule that individuals cannot change their biological sex on a birth certificate even if they undergo sex reassignment surgery.
The new rule comes after a judge temporarily struck down a similar law in April, which the state reinstated in May, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The original law included a provision that allowed individuals to change sex on a birth certificate following a sex reassignment procedure. This law was passed by the Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Gianfore (R) in 2021
On Friday, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) amended that provision of the law, stating that individuals cannot change gender on a birth certificate except in rare circumstances — such as a mistake data entry.
By law, an individual’s sex on a birth certificate can only be listed as male or female.
The DPHHS said in the text of the new provision that sex is “immutable” and that “no amount of surgery changes a person’s sex”, while declaring that gender is a “social construct”. The department cited various medical studies for its reasoning.
The change became official on Saturday, the Hill reported.
Friday’s announcement from DPHHS comes after the department used similar reasoning in June to consider adopting the now-implemented provision.
The ACLU — which represented transgender people in the lawsuit that struck down the first version of the law in April — criticized the new DPHHS provision. The group also criticized the state for “non-compliance” with the judge’s previous order.
District Court Judge Michael Moses, who temporarily banned the 2021 law, wrote in his ruling that the law infringes on an individual’s right to privacy, KTVH reported in April.
“To obtain a court order, plaintiffs must publicly disclose confidential and intimate details of their medical treatment,” Moses said.
“Only transgender people are subject to these procedures and charges in order to have a birth certificate that accurately reflects their gender.”
The judge will hear the case regarding the new rule again on Thursday in Billings.
Similar legislation prohibiting changing an individual’s sex on a birth certificate exists in Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia, while being reversed in Ohio and Idaho in 2020, the AP noted. PA.
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