Ohio Judge Rules Biological Sex Can Be Changed on Birth Certificate to Reflect Preferred Gender

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A federal judge ruled last week that Ohio must allow “corrections” on birth certificates issued by the state from one’s biological sex to a chosen gender.

Judge Michael Watson, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled on the case based on a lawsuit filed by three women and one man seeking to pick the gender opposite of their biological sex.

Watson said not allowing people to pick what sex is on their birth certificate is “nothing more than thinly veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact of the policy.”

“This is truly a victory for the LGBT community, in every aspect,” Stacie Ray, one of the four plaintiffs, said.

Mahoning Matters, a McClatchy website, reported on the judge’s decision:

The court, in siding with the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and Lambda Legal, said the state’s birth certificate rule executed by the Ohio Department of Health and the Office of Vital Statistics is unconstitutional.

Ohio had argued the rule was necessary to prevent fraud and keep a historically accurate record of its people. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office told the Associated Press it was weighing whether to appeal.

“Today’s ruling affirms that the state must recognize the dignity and true identity of every transgender Ohioan,” Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, said. “It is incredibly frustrating that our clients faced years of unlawful discrimination, but today we celebrate this victory as an acknowledgement to their commitment to justice.”

“Finally, transgender people from Ohio will be able to correct their birth certificates so that this necessary identity document is consistent with their gender identities,” Kara Inglehart, staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said. “Accurate birth certificates are essential. They are foundational to our ability to access a variety of benefits such as employment and housing, and to navigate the world freely and safely, as who we truly are.”

This ruling means that Tennessee is the only state that does not allow people to pick which sex they want to be shown on their birth certificates.

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