Judge: Idaho must allow gender changes on birth certificates

A federal judge says rules by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

BOISE - Idaho's transgender community is celebrating a victory out of the federal courthouse.

Up until Monday, transgender individuals were not able to change the sex on their birth certificate to match the gender they identify with.

That law has now changed.

This decision now puts Idaho among 46 other states, all of which allow transgender people to change their birth certificate to reflect their gender.

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"It feels great knowing that the gender markers can be changed and for my safety," says Dani Martin, a transgender woman and a plaintiff in F.V. v. Barron.

Up until Monday, Dani Martin's birth certificate indicated that she was male even though Martin has been identifying as a female for years.

Martin says this has made her the subject of discrimination most times she's been asked to present the document whether it’s for work, insurance or anything that requires a birth certificate.

"A lot of discrimination, they see that the gender marker says male and I'm presented as female," says Martin.

"You can change your name with a court order, if you are born without a father on your birth certificate because paternity is unknown, a father can sign an affidavit and be placed on a birth certificate. There are other things you can change on your birth certificate but your gender marker for transgenders you have been unable to change,' says Monica Cockerille, Martin's attorney.

That is until now.

Martin filed a complaint against Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare under F.V. v. Barron last spring.

A federal judge ruled in favor of Martin Monday and now the department has 30 days to come up with a process for transgender people to change their sex on their birth certificate if they choose.

"In this particular case the state actually admitted that they had no rational basis for that rule," says Cockerille.

"It was awesome actually just to hear this is outdated, it does need to be changed, we need to move forward doing that," adds Martin.

A spokesperson for the Department Health and Welfare told KTVB that their attorneys are reviewing the court's decision and determining their next step.

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