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Lambda Legal and ACLU Urge Federal Court in Ohio to Strike Down Anti-Transgender Birth Certificate Policy

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January 16, 2020
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Today, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and ACLU of Ohio filed a motion for summary judgment in the Southern District of Ohio, asking the Court to strike down the state’s policy prohibiting transgender people from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates. The policy is discriminatory and violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to privacy, free speech, and equal protection.

“Identity documents such as birth certificates, are critical to everyday life,” said Kara Ingelhart, staff attorney for Lambda Legal. “Without them, transgender people—who already experience staggering levels of discrimination and violence—also have to contend with barriers to employment, education, and important public benefits. Ohio’s policy is discriminatory, dangerous, out-of-step with practically every other state in the country and clearly unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of four transgender plaintiffs seeking an accurate birth certificate in March 2018. Noting that Ohio is an extreme outlier—one of only two states maintaining this policy—the court denied the state’s motion to dismiss the case in September 2019, holding that the lawsuit raised valid claims of privacy violations risking even bodily harm.  

“We ask that the court strike down this discriminatory policy so that Ohio-born trans people can access accurate birth certificates. This is basic, and it’s essential to trans peoples’ safety, privacy, and well-being,” said Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “The state should not have erected this barrier in the first place; our clients need the Court to eliminate it now.”

“Myself and others from the Trans community deserve to have documents that reflect who we are and don’t put any of us in harm’s way—the same as anyone would want for themselves and their loved ones,” said Plaintiff Stacie Ray.