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Ohio will allow changes to gender on birth certificates

The court ruling issued last December came in response to a lawsuit brought by four transgender people.
Credit: Lane V. Erickson//Shutterstock

The Ohio Department of Health will not appeal a federal court ruling that barred the state from not allowing people to change the gender listings on their birth certificates.

Instead, the agency is working on a process for people to request the change and expects to have it in place by June 1, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday, citing a court filing made Thursday.

The court ruling issued last December came in response to a lawsuit brought by four transgender people. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio found the state’s rule that prohibited making a change to a person’s gender on their birth certificate was unconstitutional. The rule was made by the health department and the Office of Vital Statistics.

Judge Michael Watson rejected the state’s arguments that the policy helped prevent fraud and maintain a historically accurate record of its citizenry. He called such justifications “nothing more than thinly veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact of the policy.”

The court sided with the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and Lambda Legal, which argued on behalf of plaintiffs that the state’s requirement prevents transgender people from obtaining a document essential to everyday living and subjects them to discrimination and potential violence.