Utah bill would prohibit changing birth certificate sex

Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan 26, 2019 / 03:07 am (CNA).- Proposed legislation in Utah would require the sex listed on birth certificates to reflect the sex of the person at birth, banning people from later requesting to change the sex listed on the document.

The bill would define male and female as “innate and immutable characteristics established at conception.” In certain cases, a child’s birth could be marked as indeterminate and later updated, but changes could not be requested based on gender identity, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Individuals would still be able to legally change their name.

Republican State Rep. Merrill Nelson, who is introducing the bill, says it is based in science.

“[A]n individual’s sex is determined at conception by chromosomal make-up and is not subject to change or self-determination later in life,” he said in a statement to the Tribune.

“This bill is not motivated by any form of ‘phobia’ or hate,” he said, “but only by a desire to maintain the integrity of the birth certificate and to provide clarity and consistency to an otherwise ambiguous statute that has produced conflicting results. … A person’s sex is no more subject to change than a person’s age. While some may feel younger or look younger, that would not justify a change of the person’s actual date of birth.”

The Utah Supreme Court is currently considering a case questioning whether judges have the authority to approve sex changes in legal documents such as drivers’ licenses and insurance cards.

State laws are split on changes to the sex listed on a birth certificate. The majority of U.S. states will not allow individuals to change their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex change surgery.


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