Late yesterday, Lambda Legal urged the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the U.S. District Court’s ruling upholding Oklahoma’s discriminatory policy of categorically prohibiting transgender people born in Oklahoma from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates to match their gender identity.
“We rely on courts to uphold the constitutional rights of all groups of people, which the lower court failed to do here. What’s especially egregious is that the discrimination here was right out in the open: the Governor cited his personal religious beliefs in targeting transgender people to strip them of access to essential identity documents necessary for navigating modern life,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Peter Renn. “Oklahoma’s regressive policy is not only out-of-step with virtually every other state in America, but it puts transgender people directly in harm’s way by involuntarily disclosing their transgender status, exposing them to discrimination, harassment, and even violence.”
The brief argues that denying transgender people the ability to obtain accurate birth certificates consistent with their gender identity subjects them to unconstitutional discrimination and violates their right to privacy.
On November 8, 2021, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order that reversed the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s (OSDH) prior practice of allowing transgender people to correct their birth certificates to match their gender identity, which had existed for at least 14 years from 1997-2021. Governor Stitt explained, “I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period.” Previously, transgender people could correct their birth certificates by presenting a court order to OSDH, but following the executive order, OSDH has refused to comply with such orders.
Lambda Legal filed Fowler et al. v. Stitt et al. in March 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on behalf of a transgender woman, Rowan Fowler, and two transgender men, Allister Hall and Carter Ray.
Read the brief here.
To learn more about Fowler et al. v. Still et al., visit here.