Bill prohibiting transgender people from changing their gender marker passes Senate

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House Bill 509, which prohibits transgender individuals from changing their gender marker on their birth certificate to match their gender identity, was passed by the Idaho Senate on Tuesday, March 17.

Despite being ruled ‘unconstitutional’ by a federal judge in 2018, the bill has now made its way to Gov. Brad Little’s desk. House Bill (HB) 509 would directly defy a federal order and would therefore immediately go to trial if passed by the governor. 

According to Rep. Lauren Necochea, the lawsuit is estimated to cost taxpayers approximately $1 million.

“Every time Idaho has tried to push a case forward and tried to win one of these lawsuits, it has lost every year successfully since 1996,” said Tanisha Jae Newton, campaign organizer for ACLU Idaho.

Five former Idaho attorney generals have urged the governor to veto HB 509, as well as HB 500, the bill that prohibits transgender individuals from participating in sports and has also passed through the Senate.

Both bills have gained a lot of attention and backlash on a national scale. HB 509 would make Idaho one of three states (including Ohio and Tennessee) that have legislature preventing transgender individuals from correcting their birth certificate. 

Rep. Julianna Young, who introduced the bill, stated in the original hearing that the bill was proposed in order to keep accurate vital records and historic informational data for the state.

However, multiple Idaho representatives have been accused of transphobia, including Sen. Lee Heider, who was quoted: “Boys are boys and girls are girls. No doctor, no judge, no Department of Health and Welfare is going to change that reality.”

According to Necochea, if this bill is signed by the governor, it could cause major implications for state workers. Workers will be forced to either comply with the original 2018 federal order or the new state mandate.

“It’s really murky and problematic for us to pass a law in violation of a court order and put state workers in a terrible position where they’re [left]with no choice,” Necochea said. “They have no good option, whether they’d be in violation of a court order or in violation of state law. I don’t know how a state agency is expected to manage that.”

Idaho government has recently been under fire for proposing multiple bills that target the transgender community, including House Bill 500, which would bar transgender women from participating in women’s sports, which has also made its way to Gov. Little’s desk.

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