An Update on our Transgender Birth Certificate Lawsuit
By Emma Keeshin
UPDATE: September 12, 2019.
The Court ruled that the lawsuit can proceed! The Defendants (Ohio government) had filed a Motion to Dismiss, asking the Court to throw out our lawsuit, and today the Court denied that Motion to Dismiss.
Noting that Ohio is an extreme outlier—1 of only 2 states that does not permit trans individuals to correct their birth certificates—the Court found that Ohio’s continued refusal violates our clients’ right to live lives without fear of exposure to discrimination, harassment, or violence. This ruling paves the way to complete victory. Now we will continue to fight until we completely remove this barrier.
For more information on the Court’s order, read our press release.
UPDATE: August 29, 2019
It’s been a while since we’ve shared an update on the birth certificate lawsuit, so we wanted to bring you up to speed. Unfortunately, the case has been progressing slowly so there are no major updates to report, but there is lots of work going on behind the scenes:
- As many of you know, Ohio is now 1 of only 2 states that do not allow transgender people to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates. (The other being Tennessee, which is also in federal litigation). Ohio provides all other individuals born in the state with a birth certificate that accurately reflects their gender identity and other information – but transgender people are denied this right.
- In March 2018 the ACLU of Ohio, Lambda Legal, and ACLU National filed a lawsuit in federal court to end this policy. We sued on behalf of four transgender people born in Ohio who have suffered harm as a result of their incorrect birth certificates: Stacie Ray, Basil Argento, Ashley Breda, and Jane Doe (plaintiffs). We sued Ohio Department of Health’s director Lance Himes and the Office of Vital Statistics’ chief and state registrar (defendants).
- Since we filed the case in March 2018, other states including Kansas and Idaho have, through a court order or settlement agreement, done away with bans on issuing corrected birth certificates to transgender people. But it appears that Ohio is digging in its heels, and continues to defend its policy.
But no matter what the Ohio government throws at us, we remain determined to fight. This isn’t only about the four plaintiffs we’re representing. We are asking for Ohio’s discriminatory policy to be struck down once and for all.
Like almost all federal court cases, this case is proceeding slowly, and will likely continue to, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
For updates on our broader LGBTQ advocacy work, visit www.acluohio.org/trans