U.S. District Courthouse in Boise

James D. McClure U.S. District Courthouse and federal building in Boise

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A federal judge heard arguments Tuesday on whether to bar the state of Idaho from enforcing a new law that will block transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identities, writes Post Register reporter Nathan Brown. U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, who issued the 2018 ruling that forced the state to let transgender people change their birth certificates, heard arguments via videoconference from Peter Renn, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who also represented the plaintiffs in the 2018 case, and Idaho Deputy Attorney General Steven Olsen. Lambda Legal is asking Dale to issue a clarification of her 2018 ruling that would in effect bar enforcement of the Idaho Vital Statistics Act, or House Bill 509, which passed this year and sets new restrictions on changing birth certificates.

One disputed question is whether the law, which will take effect July 1 if the court doesn't act, constitutes a complete ban on transgender people changing their birth certificates.

"If this court's ruling meant anything at all, it is that a categorical ban is permanently enjoined," Renn said.

He said the bill amounts to the state trying to reimpose the court-prohibited rule by simply giving it a new bill number, and said they might as well have torn down the courthouse.

The bill does allow people to ask a court to change their birth certificates "on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact." Olsen said this makes it different than the previous policy.

The plaintiffs have asked Dale to rule by June 1, blocking the new law from taking effect July 1. You can read Brown's full story here at postregister.com, or pick up Wednesday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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