Montana Will Allow Residents to Change Gender on Birth Certificates

After months of resistance, the Montana Department of Health has agreed to a judge’s temporary decision allowing transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates. In April, Judge Michael Moses ruled that transgender residents can amend birth certificates by presenting certified statements to the health department. The Associated Press reports that the state health department had defied his “vague” injunction until Monday.

The state said last week that it would ignore Moses’ court order that stopped a 2021 law restricting transgender individuals’ ability to change genders by filling out paperwork, a Department of Health and Human Services regulation that took effect in 2017.

On Monday, Moses explained in his ruling that the department participated “in needless legal gymnastics to attempt to rationalize their actions and their calculated violations of the order.” He added, “If defendants require further clarification, they are welcome to request it from the court rather than engage in activities that constitute unlawful violations of the order.” 

The ruling follows a Sept. 15 hearing, in which Moses clarified his injunction of the state. ACLU attorney Alex Rate, who is representing two transgender plaintiffs seeking to change their birth certificates, stated, “All that’s left is for the department to comply with the order, and if they don’t, the consequences are clear.”

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