The state of Montana decided to ban transgender individuals from changing their birth certificates even if they undergo sex-change surgery.

In a defiance of a court order that temporarily prevented Montana from restricting transgender rights in the state, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte's administration has prohibited transgender individuals from changing their birth certificates despite having undergone sex-change surgery. An emergency rule was issued by the Montana health department in which it said they would no longer record the category of "gender" in a citizen's birth certificates. instead, the category will be listed as "sex," either male or female, which can only be changed in rare circumstances.

NBC News reported tha as per the Montana rule, sex is "immutable" while gender is a "social...construct" that may change over time. Public Health and Human Services director Adam Meier, who was appointed by Gov. Gianforte, argued, "Sex is different from gender and an immutable genetic fact, which is not changeable, even by surgery."

Also Read: Oklahoma Governor Bans Non-Binary Birth Certificates In State

Montana Moves to Uphold Biological Facts Over Social Constructs

The Montana rule on birth certificates from Gov. Gianforte's administration was issued a little over a month after a state judge issued a temporary block of a new Montana law that requires transgender individuals to have undergone a "surgical procedure" before they are allowed to change their gender on their birth certificates. Judge Michael Moses decided that the Montana law was unconstitutionally vague as it did not specifically define what procedure must be undertaken by the transgender individual seeking to change his or her gender in the birth certificate.

In addition, the law also required a transgender individual to obtain a court order before indicating they in fact had a surgical procedure. Judge Moses' order caused Montana to follow a previous process adopted in 2017 that required transgender citizens who wanted to apply to change their gender on their Montana birth certificate to first obtain sworn affidavits at the health department.

However, Montana health officials said that the April 21 ruling placed them in "an ambiguous and uncertain situation," causing them to establish the temporary emergency rule.Notably, the changes in the temporary emergency rule exceed the restrictions on transgender rights that had been passed by the Republican-dominated state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gianforte.

Montana Issues Rules on Birth Certificates

Under the Montana order, the sex listing on birth certificates may only be changed if a person's sex is misidentified when they are born or if the sex listed was wrongly recorded as a result of "a scrivener's error," PBS Newshour reported. In response to the new Montana rule on birth certificates, the Department of Public Health and Human Services ensured that "all individuals should be treated with dignity and respect."

However, the agency added that as noted in the emergency rule, the department has "an obligation to ensure the accuracy of vital records." The department of health also said that the order is aligned with state law and solves "a critical regulatory gap" while abiding by the April court ruling.

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