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Montana calls on state Supreme Court to intervene in birth certificate case

Closeup of Birth Certificate official paper baby born
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Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services pushes for the state Supreme Court to block ordering the state health department to update gender markers on birth certificates.

Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services is asking the state Supreme Court to block a district judge’s ruling ordering the state health department to update gender markers on birth certificates.

On Friday, Sept. 23, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, representing the Department of Public Health and Human services, filed a petition asking the case be brought to the Montana Supreme Court.

This comes after an ongoing back and forth between DPHHS and Yellowstone County District Judge Michael Moses. Earlier this month, Moses clarified his previous ruling ordering the department to uphold a 2017 administrative rule put in place by the health department that enables transgender Montanans to update gender markers on their birth certificates.

Knudsen argued in the petition that complying with the order would place the health department in a “legally and factually impossible position." The department has already begun processing amendments under the 2017 rule in response to Moses' previous order.

The plaintiffs, including the ACLU, have not yet responded to the petition.

Ellis Juhlin is YPR's Statehouse reporter based in Helena.