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New Idaho Judge ruling gives hope for LGBTQ community

New judge ruling gives hope for LGBTQ

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - An Idaho Federal Judge says the state can't automatically reject transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates. 

For almost two months, a group has been out on the Broadway Bridge every Wednesday.

"We are out here asking the legislature to add the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender to the human rights act," said Elizabeth Cogliati, the Organizer of Idaho Falls' "Add the Words."

This is the fifth year they've gone on the bridge to hold up signs, and have a moment of silence.

Although they have yet to get the success they wanted in adding the words, this week the LGBTQ  community did make some progress.

In a ruling issued on Monday, the judge said the rules by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

Besides violating the clause, Judge Candy Dale also says the rules served no rational government purpose and put transgender people at risk by forcing them to share their status when they show identification documents.

She wrote, "A rule providing an avenue to obtain a birth certificate with a listed sex that aligns with an individual's gender identity promotes the health, well-being, and safety of transgender people without impacting the rights of others."

"School to passports to you know any kind of travel," Cherie Stevens, an LGBTQ activist, said. "We are able to travel quite a bit and our passport is with us, every moment and to be able to have that appropriate gender identification is really, really important."

Before Monday, Idaho was one of four states that didn't let transgender people change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.

For people like Stevens, who have transgender family members- this is a big deal.

"People I know and love will be able to have their correct gender on their birth certificate, the one that they identify with," said Stevens.

Though this is a step in the right direction, LGBTQ issues still have a ways to go.

"I think there needs to be a greater knowledge for everyone in Idaho that this is who transgender people are," Cogliati said. "It's not a whim, or a phase or a thing, it's who they are. It is their identity."

Dale gave Idaho until April 6th to begin considering applications to change the sex listed on birth certificates under new, constitutionally sound rules. The ruling also says that reissued birth certificates can't include a record of the gender having been changed.

The "Add the Words" group plans to rally every Wednesday around noon until the legislative session is done, or a bill to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the Human Rights Act.


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