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Judge blocks birth certificate law for transgender Montanans

Closeup of Birth Certificate official paper baby born
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A judge has temporarily blocked a new state law that restricts the process for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate.

A Yellowstone County district court judge has temporarily blocked a new state law that restricts the process for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate.

The law signed in 2021 requires transgender Montanans undergo and provide proof of gender-affirming surgery in court in order to amend a birth certificate. Prior to the law's passage, a person had to provide the state health department with a signed affidavit accompanied by one of three documents, including a government-issued ID showing the corrected gender marker.

ACLU of Montana sued the state over the law on behalf of two trans Montanans, saying it violates their right to privacy and due process. The block will stay in place until the judge lifts it or until the case is resolved in court.

"Our constitution provides the means to protect the most vulnerable Montanans," Amelia Marquez, one of the two Montanans represented in the case, said in a statement.

The office of Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who’s representing the state in the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.