(LA Blade) A Montana judge ruled today the state may not prevent transgender people from updating their birth certificates while the case challenging the constitutionality of a law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature, SB 280, proceeds.

SB 280 requires a court order that one has received surgical treatment before one can obtain an amended and accurate birth certificate.

A state district court granted a preliminary injunction in Marquez v. State of Montana last April ruling that SB 280 likely is unconstitutional and enjoined enforcement of any aspect of that law pending resolution of the case.

The Yellowstone County Court District Court Judge Michael Moses ruled from the bench, granting the plaintiffs’ motion to clarify the preliminary injunction in Marquez v. The State of Montana and rejecting an effort by the state to circumvent the injunction against enforcement of SB 280.

According to the Associated Press, Moses chided attorneys for the state during a hearing in Billings for circumventing his April order that temporarily blocked a 2021 Montana law that made it harder to change birth certificates.

Moses said there was no question that the new rule recently adopted by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services violated his earlier order. The court’s action reinstates a 2017 Department of Public Health and Human Services rule that eased the process of changing one’s birth certificate.

He then expressed annoyance with the attempted end run around his injunction.

Moses said his April ruling had been “clear as a bell” and compared the state’s subsequent actions to a person twice convicted of assault who tries to change their name following a third offense to avoid prosecution.

“Isn’t that exactly what happened here?” Moses asked. “I’m a bit offended the department thinks they can do anything they want.”

The following statement was issued Thursday after the hearing by the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU Foundation LGBTQ & HIV Project, and Nixon Peabody LLP: 

“We’re thankful the court saw the state’s discriminatory new rule for what it was: a desperate effort to circumvent the judicial process and target transgender Montanans. Forcing anyone to carry documents that contradict their identity is unjust and unconstitutional, and such a rule marks transgender people for further mistreatment and discrimination. We’ll continue to fight this baseless law until no transgender person is denied this fundamental right.”


 SFGN and the Los Angeles Blade are media partners.


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