In a slap in the face to transgender rights, the state of Idaho ignored a federal court’s ruling and banned gender identity changes.
The ban applies to birth certificates issued by the state. Idaho also enacted a ban on transgender girls and women from competing in female public school and university sports leagues.
The two new laws, signed by Gov. Brad Little on March 30, were roundedly condemned by LGBT and progressive rights groups.
“Everyone should be able to live as their authentic self, and these laws are another cruel attempt to deny the existence of transgender people and their identities,” said Scott McCoy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a press release.
Adding insult to injury, the bans came as the trans community celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility.
"The ACLU of Idaho condemns Governor Brad Little's decision to sign discriminatory, unconstitutional, and deeply hurtful anti-transgender bills into law. Leaders from the business, faith, medical, education and athletics communities will not forget this decision or what it says about the governor's priorities during a global pandemic,” the civil liberties organization said in a news release. “The ACLU will see the governor in court. We encourage all Idahoans to email, call, and tweet Gov. Little to express outrage and disappointment at wasting precious taxpayer resources on blatantly anti-transgender bills at a time when we should be coming together for the health and wellbeing of our people."
Conservative groups praised the governor for saving girls’ sports.
“Gov. Little has proven himself to be a friend to Idaho families. Idaho is the first state in the nation to enact this law protecting athletic opportunities for girls ... We’ve answered the naysayers: It isn’t exclusionary to say that girls’ and women’s sports are for women, not for biological men. Our daughters are thanking legislators and the governor for saving girls’ sports,” Blaine Conzatti, spokesman for the Family Policy Alliance, said in a news release.
“We are grateful to the governor and the many legislators that chose to support these bills,” said Christian Welp, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise. “We know that this was a hard decision to make, and we commend our elected officials for choosing to do the right thing. We know that choosing to support family-centered policy will strengthen our state for decades to come.”
In March 2018, the U.S. District Court of Idaho ruled the ban on birth certificate changes that violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Anti-trans groups then took their cause to Idaho’s Republican dominated legislature to get the bills passed. Despite outcrys from LGBT groups, Gov. Little refused to veto the bills.
“Shameful that on the eve of #TDOV @ GovenorLittle signed into law two anti-trans bills which will easy cost IDAHO over a million $ in legal fees when we sue (& win) — quite a low blow from someone who ‘isn’t much of a discrimination guy,’” tweeted Chris Mosier, a Nike professional athlete and transgender man.
Idaho now becomes one of three states with no process for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificates, according to Lambda Legal. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Idaho’s population to be just over 1.7 million in 2019, making the northwestern state the country’s 39th most populated state.