Judge Rules Ohio Must Allow ‘Transgender’ Residents to Change Sex on Birth Certificates

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge nominated to the bench by then-President George W. Bush has ruled that the State of Ohio must allow residents who identify as the opposite sex to change their gender on their birth certificates.

“[T]he court finds that Plaintiffs have submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they have a substantive due process right to informational privacy that protects against the forced disclosure of the unchanged sex marker on their birth certificates,” wrote Judge Michael Watson.

He opined that transgenders are treated differently than other Ohioans as “adoptive parents can amend an adopted child’s birth certificate to reflect the adopted parents’ names, and individuals who have legally changed their names can have a birth certificate modified to reflect that change, but Plaintiffs are not afforded the same ability to change their birth certificates to align with their gender identities.”

Watson was not convinced by the argument from the State that records need to reflect a person’s true vital statistics, stating that he sees no difference between allowing an adopted person to change the names of their parents on their birth certificate and a transgender individual seeking desired changes.

“The court does not disagree that accurate records are important, but it would find this argument more persuasive if Defendants could explain why permitting someone who is adopted to change the names of their parents on their birth certificate to reflect people other than the individuals identified on the document at birth does not affect the historical accuracy of the document and vital statistics, but changing a sex marker does,” he wrote.

“All this court is finding is that a blanket prohibition against transgender people changing their sex marker is unconstitutional,” Watson said. “At bottom, the court finds that Defendants’ proffered justifications are nothing more than thinly veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact of the policy.”

As previously reported, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio and the transgender advocacy group Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health and the Office of Vital Statistics in 2018 on behalf of four residents who sought to have their birth certificates changed but were denied.

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In Ohio, those diagnosed with gender dysphoria may change the sex on their driver’s license and state identification but not their birth certificate. The ACLU and Lambda Legal believe this can be an issue because in instances where a person must present their birth certificate, it now exposes them as being “transgender” and opens the door for ridicule and mistreatment.

“Denying transgender people birth certificates that match their gender identity reveals private information in contexts where this information would otherwise remain undisclosed (e.g., at a new job), regardless of whether a person’s transgender identity may otherwise be known by others (e.g., to friends or family), and regardless of a person’s desire not to disclose that personal information,” they wrote in their initial legal complaint.

“Such a mismatch discloses the fact that a person is transgender. This is profoundly personal information in which a transgender person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Disclosure of that information can seriously jeopardize a person’s safety, and subject the person to a risk of bodily harm,” they stated.

During his ruling, Watson noted that one of the plaintiffs — who was born a man but identifies as a woman — was told at work by a human resources official that he would “never be a woman” but would “always be a man in God’s eyes.”

The State, which had previously allowed those struggling with gender confusion to change their birth certificate until 2016, says that it is considering its next steps, including an appeal.

As previously reported, while some view transgenderism as a medical condition, Christians believe the matter is also a spiritual issue at its root — one that stems from the same predicament all men everywhere face due to the Fall.

The Bible teaches that all are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent feelings and inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves.

Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being a new creation in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. It is known in Christianity as the doctrine of regeneration.

1 Corinthians 15:45 states, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.”

“Bitter experience teaches that the imprisoning net clings too tightly to be stripped from our limbs by our own efforts. Nay rather, the net and the captive are one, and he who tries to cast off the oppression which hinders him from following that which is good is trying to cast off himself,” also wrote the late preacher and Bible commentator Alexander Maclaren.

“But to men writhing in the grip of a sinful past, or paralyzed beyond writhing and indifferent, because [they are] hopeless, or because they have come to like their captivity, comes one whose name is ‘The Breaker,’ whose mission it is to proclaim liberty to the captives, and whose hand laid on the cords that bind a soul, causes them to drop harmless from the limbs and sets the bondsman free.”


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