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Amid legal battles, the health dept. bars gender changes on birth certificates

The state health department says it will reinstate a rule that bars transgender Montanans from updating the gender markers on their birth certificates. The Montana Supreme Court is now involved in the latest step in a murky legal fight over the policy.

The Montana Supreme Court found that a district court erred in directing health department rulemaking when it told the health department to walk back its ban on birth certificate amendments.

After a law regulating birth certificates was temporarily blocked last spring, the health department was ordered to return to the status quo while the lawsuit plays out. Department officials instead created a new rule banning amendments to gender markers.

Yellowstone District Court Judge Michael Moses rebuked that move, saying officials should have reverted back to a previous rule that allowed for updates to those records. The state Supreme Court says that order was outside of his jurisdiction.

ACLU of Montana has filed an amended motion in district court to challenge the health department’s rule so that the judge can properly weigh in. The policy is in legal limbo until Moses issues a new ruling.

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