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Lambda Legal: Idaho Flouts the Courts By Enacting Unconstitutional Anti-Transgender Law

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“Idaho has deliberately set itself on a collision course with federal courts. It is in open rebellion against the rule of law.”
March 30, 2020

(Boise, ID, March 30, 2020) – Idaho Gov. Brad Little today signed into law legislation that bans transgender people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, despite a federal court ruling Lambda Legal won two years ago declaring such a policy unconstitutional.

Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn, a member of the legal team that obtained that court ruling in 2018, issued the following statement: “At each step of the legislative process, from this bill’s introduction in the Idaho House, through the Idaho Senate, and on to the governor’s desk, policymakers were fully aware that they were explicitly flouting a binding federal court order. And the court could not have been clearer: this policy was unconstitutional two years ago, and it is still unconstitutional today. Idaho has deliberately set itself on a collision course with the federal courts.  It is in open rebellion against the rule of law.”

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kara Ingelhart added:  “While the rest of the world is trying to solve our public health crisis, Idaho has prioritized creating a new public health problem for transgender people. Like everyone else, transgender people need accurate identity documents to navigate everyday life, and this gratuitous attack puts them back in harm’s way for harassment and even violence. The people who have been targeted for this astonishing rollback of their basic civil rights can share their experiences with Lambda Legal’s help desk. Everyone has a right to essential identity documents that accurately reflect who they are.”

Lambda Legal filed the original lawsuit in 2017. The lawsuit argued that denying transgender Idahoans the ability to obtain accurate birth certificates discriminates against them and invades their privacy, liberty, and freedom from compelled speech under the U.S. Constitution.  For example, after one plaintiff, who is a transgender woman, displayed her birth certificate at a social security office, she was subjected to verbal harassment for being transgender.  In March, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruled that the birth certificate policy unconstitutionally discriminated against transgender people, and it issued a permanent injunction against state officials.

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. Transgender individuals also are disproportionately targeted for hate crimes.  Forty-seven states currently provide a process for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

Transgender individuals seeking accurate birth certificates from Idaho can contact our Help Desk here:https://www.lambdalegal.org/helpdesk

Lambda Legal’s successful lawsuit is F.V. v. Barron. You can read the ruling and more about the case here:https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/fv_id_20180305_decision

Read about birth certificate policies across the United States here: http://www.lambdalegal.org/know-your-rights/article/trans-changing-birth-certificate-sex-designations

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Contact Info

Tom Warnke: C: 213-841-4503;  twarnke@lambdalegal.org

Related Issues: Transgender Rights

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