Montana To Defy Judge’s Order For Changing Gender On Birth Certificates

Montana has drawn the line after a state judge struck down its law requiring surgery for the gender on a birth certificate to change, saying it will defy the court’s order.

District Court Judge Michael G. Moses ruled on Thursday that the state law is in violation of Montana’s constitution. He wrote that it is both “unethical” and contrary to medical consensus to interfere with “innate” gender identity.

Further, he claimed that surgery is not medically necessary or even desirable for all transgender persons. Judge Moses wrote that changing gender is a process that will vary depending on a person’s individual needs.

Thursday’s judicial ruling and legislative response is the latest in a back-and-forth between the Republican-controlled state and Judge Moses. The legislature passed a law forbidding changing birth certificates without surgery only to see the judge rule it unconstitutional.

The state then unveiled a new rule outlawing all gender changes on birth certificates.

On Thursday, the judge expressed that he is “offended” that the state would try to go around his ruling, only to see the state do it again. Just hours after his announcement, The Montana Department of Health and Welfare declared it will not comply with the order.

It will instead refuse to process changes in birth certificates.

Litigants filed a complaint over the 2021 bill that passed the Montana legislature allowing the changing of gender listed on birth certificates only if they had undergone gender reassignment surgery.

That bill reversed the previous protocols which allowed transgender individuals to change their birth certificates through multiple means.

They could submit a legal form declaring their gender switch, provide a state-issued identification with a different gender listed, or present a court order attesting to the gender change.

Moses, in his Thursday ruling, said the law violated equal protection, privacy, and due process under the state constitution.

Legislating such radicalism from the bench will inevitably cause blowback from more common sense lawmakers. Unfortunately, in this situation and many others like it across the country, it will once again end up in the court’s hands to decide the outcome.