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Transgender

Montana Will Defy Judge Over Gender Changes on Birth Certificates

Charlie Brereton
Charlie Brereton

State officials are rejecting an order issued by a judge Thursday.

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Montana officials say they won't obey a judge's order to lift a ban on gender changes on birth certificates.

State Judge Michael Moses Thursday issued an injunction blocking enforcement of a rule adopted last week by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to ban any gender marker change on a birth certificate except to correct an error. The injunction would be in place while a court case proceeds against a 2021 law that made it harder to change the gender marker.

In April, the judge had ordered the state to cease enforcing the law while the case was heard and to revert to an earlier, easier process. The law passed last year required proof of surgery and the approval of a court in order to change the gender marker, whereas for the previous four years trans Montanans had been able to obtain a new birth certificate through a simple online form.

But Charlie Brereton, director of the health department, said officials will continue to follow the rule, the Associated Press reports. "The department thoroughly evaluated the judge's vague April 2022 decision and crafted our final rule to be consistent with the decision. It's unfortunate that the judge's ruling today does not square with his vague April decision," Brereton said Thursday.

A spokesperson for the department added that administrators will wait to receive Moses's written ruling before taking any further steps.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of trans Montanans, denounced Brereton's move. "It's shocking that after this morning's hearing the department would allege there was any lack of clarity in the court's ruling from the bench," ACLU attorney Malita Picasso told the AP Thursday. "It was very clear that Judge Moses expressly required a reversion to the 2017 policy, and anything short of that is a continued flagrant violation of the court's order."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.