Montana Allowing Transgender People to Change Birth Record – For Now

Of all the battlegrounds of progressive activism, Montana is the least likely.

But a fight for the soul of the state is playing out in court this week after a judge ruled that transgender people should be allowed to change the gender on their birth record, regardless of their transition surgery status.

Montana’s health department announced Monday that they will follow the judge’s ruling, allowing transgender people to change their birth certificates.

Monday, the judge issued an order that blasted the health officials for making “calculated violations” of his order, which required that they stop enforcing a law that blocked transgender people from changing their gender unless they had completed transition surgery. District Court Judge Michael Moses added that he would consider motions for contempt based on those who have continuously violated his original order, written in April.

Moses clarified that order in a verbal order last Thursday, but the Republican-run legislature immediately said they would defy the order and continue enforcing the rule.

But Moses brought down the contempt hammer warning, and the health department acquiesced, saying they’d enforce it even though they disagreed. Moses wrote that the state “engaged in needless legal gymnastics to attempt to rationalize their actions and their calculated violations of the order.” He called the state’s attempt to wiggle out of his order “ridiculous.”

The health department released a statement via a spokesperson, saying, “The department stands by its actions and analysis concerning the April 2022 preliminary injunction decision, as set forth in its rulemaking that addressed critical regulatory gaps left by the court.”

The ACLU will continue to push against the legislature’s attempts to override the order, and the health department’s lawyers are expected to appeal.

Moses, for his part, is clear, referring back to a 2017 rule that allows transgender residents to file an affidavit with the health department to correct the gender on their birth certificate. Moses told them, “If defendants requires further clarification, they are welcome to request it from the court rather than engage in activities that constitute unlawful violations of the order.”