Julianne Young debating in House, by James Dawson/BSPR

Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, sponsored a bill that bans transgender people in Idaho from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identity.

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A federal judge says her ruling from two years ago barring the automatic denial of a transgender person wanting to change their birth certificate still stands, writes Boise State Public Radio reporter James Dawson. That’s despite a new law slated to go into effect July 1 that gives transgender people no opportunity to have their birth certificate accurately reflect their gender identity.

“…The plain language and objective of the Order and Judgment entered in this case permanently enjoin [the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare] from infringing on the constitutional rights of transgender individuals…” Judge Candy Dale wrote in an order Monday.

“Like obeying speed limits and paying your taxes, Idaho state officials are not exempt from the duty to follow a court order,” said Peter Renn, an attorney for Lambda Legal. The legal advocacy group filed the original lawsuit three years ago.

The only way to change a birth certificate, under the new law, is to prove to a court that it was incorrectly recorded due to “fraud, duress or material mistake of fact.”

It defines someone’s sex solely by their chromosomes and reproductive organs. Transgender people don’t necessarily base their gender identity on those two characteristics alone.

“It is not a categorical ban,” Deputy Attorney General Steven Olsen argued in court last month.

Olsen also said the injunction only applies to a former Idaho Department of Health and Welfare policy that Dale ruled unconstitutional in 2018 -- and that the current rule related to that decision would no longer exist once House Bill 509 is implemented next month.

“…The Court finds both arguments are unavailing in light of the unequivocal language and objective of the Injunction,” Dale wrote. Dawson's full report is online here at boisestatepublicradio.org.

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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