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Lambda Legal to Idaho Governor: Don’t Resuscitate Unconstitutional Anti-Transgender Discrimination

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March 17, 2020

(Boise, ID, March 17, 2020) – The Idaho Senate today approved a bill already passed by the state House of Representatives that would ban transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates despite a federal court ruling two years ago declaring such a ban unconstitutional. Lambda Legal, which brought the lawsuit that resulted in that ruling, urged Idaho Gov. Brad Little to veto the bill when it lands on his desk.

“Idaho lawmakers might as well try to tear down the federal courthouse if they have this much contempt for the rule of law,” said Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn, a member of the legal team that obtained the court ruling in 2018. “They are explicitly defying a court order and exposing Idaho taxpayers to footing the bill for significant financial consequences – all while putting transgender people back in harm’s way for harassment and even violence, and once again making Idaho a national outlier.  While the rest of the world is on fire responding to our global health crisis, Idaho lawmakers are fixated on transgender people’s birth certificates and coming up with solutions in search of problems.”

“We urge Governor Little to veto this toxic bill that willfully flouts a court order,” added Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kara Ingelhart. “Essential identity documents should accurately reflect who you are, and the federal court in Idaho already recognized that the government cannot rob transgender people of this basic tool to navigate through life. It defies belief that Idaho legislators resurrected this archaic and frankly dangerous policy already declared unconstitutional, and we urge Governor Little to respect the role of the courts in maintaining the rule of law.”

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, the employee referred to her as a “tranny,” and someone who overheard the comment called her a “faggot.”  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.

The 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...

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Contact Info

Press contact:  Tom Warnke, Cell: 213-841-4503: Email: twarnke@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. www.lambdalegal.org

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