The State of Ohio is set to become the 49th state to allow transgender people to change their gender on their official birth certificates.
The Ohio Department of Health has decided not to appeal a federal court ruling from December that ruled the state’s ban on gender changes in birth records is unconstitutional.
In December, Judge Michael Watson, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the Buckeye State must allow for “corrections” on birth certificates after a lawsuit was filed by three women and one man seeking to change their birth records.
Judge Watson cited a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality that claimed that 36 percent of Ohio transgender people who showed IDs that did not match their chosen gender became a target of verbal harassment. This minority of transgender people also felt they had been denied benefits, services or were asked to leave places.
“Today’s ruling affirms that the state must recognize the dignity and true identity of every transgender Ohioan,” said Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, after the December ruling. “It is incredibly frustrating that our clients faced years of unlawful discrimination, but today we celebrate this victory as an acknowledgment to their commitment to justice.”
According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, the ODH reported that it is now crafting changes to its process and hopes to have the new rules in place by June 1.
The decision makes Ohio the second to last holdout, leaving Tennessee the only U.S. state that will not allow transgender people to change their birth certificates and driver’s licenses.
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