Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs ban on nonbinary birth certificates

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed legislation to prohibit the state from issuing nonbinary birth certificates.

The new law essentially makes permanent an executive order from Stitt that blocked the Oklahoma Health Department from issuing gender-neutral birth certificates.

The law took effect immediately.

Stitt issued the executive order in November after a nonbinary person from Oklahoma successfully sued to get their birth marker changed to an “X.” The health department issued the amended birth certificate as part of a settlement agreement with Kit Lorelied, of Oregon.

Nonbinary people do not identify as male or female.

At the time, Stitt called on the GOP-led Oklahoma Legislature to alter state law to mirror his executive order.

The options for birth markers will be limited to male or female under Senate Bill 1100 from Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, and Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa. An “X” or other nonbinary designation is expressly prohibited.

When the House gave final passage to the bill last week, Rep. Mauree Turner, the nation’s first nonbinary lawmaker, accused legislators of using their power to “attack” LQBTQ Oklahomans.

Turner, D-Oklahoma City, said the bill felt like a personal attack.

Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, stands on the south steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol, February 1, 2021.

Bills like SB 1100 forge a path to discriminate against marginalized communities, namely nonbinary and transgender Oklahomas, Turner said.

“Allowing Oklahomas to be able to show up fully and freely as themselves is what we were put here to do,” Turner said.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights group, called SB 1100 an example of hyperpartisanship, and said the measure attempts to erase the identities of transgender and nonbinary Oklahomans.

More than a dozen states allow a gender marker design outside of male or female.

Bergstrom filed the legislation shortly after hearing about the health department’s settlement that led to the issuance of Oklahoma’s first nonbinary birth certificate.

SB 1100 is just common sense, he said.

Bergstrom

Bergstrom

“We must stand up and put a stop to this nonsense regarding biological sex,” he said in a statement. There should be no other option to choose from on a birth certificate.”

It’s unclear what this new law means for a federal challenge the health department’s birth certificate policies.

Three transgender Oklahomas sued Stitt and the state because they could not get their gender markers changed on their birth certificates.

Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Nicole McAfee said the legislation could open the state up to more lawsuits. The nonprofit advocates for the LGBTQ community.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma bans nonbinary, gender-neutral birth certificates

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