If the conservative Republican attorney general of Kansas is successful in a court action he started late Friday, transgender persons born there would be blocked from amending their birth certificates to suit their gender identification.
Attorney General Kris Kobach asked a judge to overturn Kansas’ rule requiring transgender persons to be allowed to amend their birth certificates in a federal court filing. He wants to stop changes from happening in the future, not from the past.
To resolve a lawsuit brought by four transgender Kansas individuals against three state health department employees, District Judge Daniel Crabtree enforced the rule in 2019.
The lawsuit contests the law that detractors claimed barred transgender persons from changing their names officially, getting new driver’s licenses, and getting Social Security cards even after transitioning.
One of the plaintiffs in that action, Black transgender activist Luc Bensimon, said on Saturday that he had already received calls and emails from people attempting to alter their birth certificate and were worried they wouldn’t be able to finish the procedure.
Bensimon added, “We didn’t go through that litigation simply to have him try to modify it now. I believed this had already been resolved, but if necessary, I have the strength to revise and fix the situation
Kobach’s attempt was not sure to be successful in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2020 that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is likewise prohibited under federal law, which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace.
Federal justices in Ohio and Idaho overturned laws prohibiting transgender persons from amending birth certificates in 2020.
However, federal judges in Tennessee and Oklahoma last month ma rejected appeals of two of the few still-in-force state laws prohibiting such modifications.
Kobach’s action seems aligned with a new, comprehensive Kansas legislation that restricts transgender rights and goes into effect in July The Republican-controlled Legislature passed this measure despite Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s veto.
Just before midnight, Kobach electronically submitted a document with the request that referenced the statute as justification for revisiting the 2019 settlement.
An email sent to Kelly’s office on Saturday requesting their thoughts on Kobach’s choice was not promptly answered.
Four Kansas individuals were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the LGBTQ+ legal organization Lambda Legal.
Both organizations denounced Kobach’s action. Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lamda Legal referred to it as “unnecessary and cruel.”
In a statement, Micah Kubic, executive director of the Kansas ACLU, added: “Mr. Kobach ought to reconsider the prudence — and the blatant obscenity — of this effort to use the power of his office as a weapon against transgender Kansans who are only trying to live their lives.
The purpose of the new Kansas law is to keep transgender persons from using the toilet, locker rooms, and other single-gender facilities connected to their identities.
Such statutes exist in at least nine additional states, more public school-centric.