Legal groups to battle Idaho anti-transgender laws
Civil liberties groups are set to battle two Idaho anti-transgender laws in court after Governor Brad Little recently signed them into being.
Lambda Legal has filed a motion against an Idaho law banning corrections of gender markers on birth certificates to match the gender identity of transgender people.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will challenge a separate law banning transgender and intersex girls and women from competing in female public school and university sports.
Idaho anti-transgender laws: No corrections
Lambda Legal filed a motion with the US district court to confirm a 2018 ruling that ordered Idaho state officials to allow transgender people born in Idaho to correct gender markers in their birth certificates.
Lambda Legal had first filed the original lawsuit in 2017, arguing that denying transgender people born in Idaho accurate birth certificates discriminates against them.
The 2018 ruling, which said the government is unconstitutionally discriminating against transgender people by not allowing corrections, goes against the law that bans such corrections.
“Two years ago, the court determined that the state’s ban against transgender people correcting their birth certificates was dangerous, discriminatory, and indefensible,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said.
“That is why the court permanently barred Idaho from automatically turning away transgender people seeking birth certificates that match their gender identity. Permanent means permanent,” Renn added.
Renn accused state lawmakers of being “brazenly lawless” to defy a federal court ruling and said the law is “a naked flouting of the rule of law.”
Idaho is targeting transgender athletes
Meanwhile, the ACLU has filed a complaint in Boise federal court against another law that makes Idaho the first state to impose an outright ban against transgender athletes.
Aside from banning them from competing in female public school and university sports, this is also the only statewide law that regulates transgender and intersex athletes in the US.
“Idaho now stands alone in imposing the threat of unwanted, medically unnecessary invasions to bar and chill participation in women’s and girls’ athletics,” the ACLU stated in their 60-page complaint.
The national ACLU, ACLU of Idaho, Legal Voice (a Seattle-based feminist organization), and Cooley LLP, a San Francisco law firm, filed the complaint on behalf of two students that identify as female.
The law groups want to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the law from going into effect as this violates the US Constitution’s equal protection, due process, and search and seizure clauses.
The new law also violates Title IX, the 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in education.
Idaho anti-transgender laws terrible for Idaho
Little has not commented on why he chose to sign into law HB 500, the Republican-backed transgender sports bill, HB 509, which bans corrections.
However, as of early March, five of Idaho’s largest companies– Chobani, Clif Bar, HP, Micron, and Idaho National Laboratory– slammed Idaho for not supporting diversity.
“Businesses, major employers, schools, doctors and counselors have all warned that this law is terrible for Idaho,” said Ritchie Eppink, Legal Director for ACLU of Idaho.
Likewise, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kara Ingelhart said, “It is incredible that Idaho, in the midst of a health pandemic, would push through this discriminatory law that jeopardizes the health and well-being of transgender people and clearly and explicitly violates a court order.”
The 2015 US Transgender Survey reported that almost one-third of transgender individuals who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, among others.
As of present, 47 other states provide a process for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.