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Federal Court Rules Ohio Must Allow Gender Changes On Birth Certificates

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Karen Desuyo

A federal court says Ohio can’t keep refusing to allow people to change the gender listings on their birth certificates.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio says the birth certificate rule imposed by the state Department of Health and the Office of Vital Statistics is unconstitutional. Ohio was weighing an appeal.

Judge Michael Watson rejected the state of Ohio’s arguments that the policy prevents fraud and maintains historical accuracy as “thinly veiled” excuses for discrimination. Plaintiff Stacie Ray claimed victory for the LGBTQ community.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal, which filed the lawsuit, argued that people born in Ohio can already change the gender listed on their driver's license, passport and social security information, just not their birth certificate.

Most other states in the U.S. already allow such changes. Ohio was one of the last two states, along with Tennessee, to prohibit them.