Amelia Marquez is a life-long Montanan who is transgender. Her birth certificate lists inaccurate and incorrect information. A recently passed law in Montana, Senate Bill 280, would prohibit them from correcting the gender listed on their certificate because they have not undergone the invasions and costly gender-affirming procedure. The ACLU, the ACLU of Montana and Nixon Peabody LLP have sued in saying SB 280 violates the equal protection clause of the Montana State Constitution.

SB 280 restricts transgender people’s ability to change the gender markers on their birth certificates by requiring gender-affirming surgery that some do not want, are unable to afford, or have a medical complication. It also requires a complicated and costly legal proceeding.

The effects of having an accurate birth certificate can be life-altering. For starters, an incorrect birth certificate discloses the fact that a person is transgender, a profoundly private piece of information that no one should have exposed without their consent. Additionally, it subjects transgender people to discrimination and harassment in a variety of settings, including employment, healthcare, and interactions with government employees and officials.

When transgender people are denied accurate birth certificates unless they agree to the invasive surgery and disclose confidential information, they lose control over the circumstances surrounding the disclosure of their identity and endure the broader implications that come with it. More severely, transgender people are denied equal rights, privacy, and dignity — all of which are protected by the Montana Constitution. 

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