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Ohio Supreme Court Reviews Trans Woman's Request to Adjust Birth Certificate

Ohio Supreme Court Reviews Trans Woman's Request to Adjust Birth Certificate

Ohio Courthouse and queer people wrapped in Pride colors holding hands

It’s already legal to do, but a procedural grey-area makes it so each county’s probate court can decide differently unless the justices make a decision.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard the argument of a woman denied the right to change her birth certificate to reflect her gender identity.

In October of 2021, Clark County resident Hailey Emmeline Adelaide requested a change to the sex marker on her birth certificate, but the county’s probate court said it didn’t have the authority to make the change.

According to court documents, Adelaide told the court she “had always identified as female — as long as she could remember” and that her gender identity had not changed.

Born in 1973, Adelaide grew up in Clark County and came out as trans in 2020. In court documents, she says she identified as female at age four.

If a ruling is reached, it will affect more than just the county. Currently, 11 Ohio county probate courts are awaiting the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling on whether to correct birth certificates for transgender people, the Ohio Capital Journalreports.

However, two conservative justices appeared skeptical of the case altogether. Because there was no defendant to represent the opposition, one justice wondered whether there was a case to be decided at all.

“Who is the opposition?” Justice Pat Fischer asked Adelaide’s lawyer, Cleveland attorney Chad M. Eggspuehler.

There were no opponents to their case, Eggspuehler said.

“Then how is this a case?” Fischer asked.

Eggspuhler said the Ohio Supreme Court could review a final probate court order.

Additionally, the justice questioned whether probate courts should have the authority to change sex markers if the legislature should make that decision. Further, the judge asked whether probate courts should have the power to change sex markers or if the legislature should make that decision.

Legislation supporting transgender people has little chance of passing in the legislature. Despite a decade of attempts, Ohio has no statewide nondiscrimination law for LGBTQ+ people. Instead, Ohio House members are considering legislation that prevents transgender women from playing high school and college sports.

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