Courts LGBTQ

Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Anti-Trans Birth Certificate Law

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled against an Ohio law that prevented transgender individuals from correcting their assigned gender on their birth certificate.

Judge Michael Watson found the measure unconstitutional, writing in his decision that, “This policy resembles the sort of discrimination-based legislation struck down under the equal protection clause in Romer v. Evans as nothing more than a policy ‘born of animosity toward the class of person affected’ that has ‘no rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.’ “

The state argued that the policy was intended to maintain “accurate” records and prevent fraudulent criminal activity, which the judge struck down.

“At bottom, the court finds that defendants’ proffered justifications are nothing more than thinly veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact of the Policy,” he wrote.

The case was brought forward by four transgender Ohio residents who had been denied the ability to change their gender identity on their birth certificates.

“This is truly a victory for the LGBT community, in every aspect,” said Stacie Ray, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

“Trans people are the experts on our own genders, lives, and needs. I’m thrilled that the court recognized that policies like Ohio’s, which misgender and endanger us, also violate the constitution. We will keep fighting until we get rid of all discriminatory and burdensome requirements for ID changes around the country,” said Malita Picasso, Skadden Fellow, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project in a statement released by the ACLU of Ohio.

The press release goes on to state that, “According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost one-third of transgender individuals who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted.”

Tennessee is the only remaining state that prohibits transgender people from changing their assigned gender on their birth certificate.  

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