Indiana’s Attorney General Todd Rokita is arguing against state courts having the power to change a minor’s gender on birth certificates upon a parent’s request for such a change for her 7-year-old child.
The legal battle involves the mother’s petitioning of state courts for more than two years, urging them to change her child’s gender identity on the birth certificate.
The child was born a boy but has been identifying as a girl since age 2, according to court papers.
Lower courts in the state have held it is not in the best interest of the child to alter the biological gender status on the document.
The mother, though, argues that the alteration would “promote her safety and social and emotional well-being.”
According to court papers, the child began preferring girl’s clothes and toys before the age of 2, and once the child became verbal, she would express “she was a girl inside.”
Judges who have reviewed the legal battle say it is up to the legislature to provide a path for alternating gender markers on minors’ birth documents — not the courts.
The state’s chief law enforcement officer agrees.
“The purpose of a birth certificate is obviously to establish a record of biological birth and certain relevant factual details of that occasion,” Mr. Rokita said. “To change the designated sex on a birth certificate at a later date is in effect falsifying that document.”
Mr. Rokita said in a court filing this week with the Indiana Supreme Court that state law allows Indiana birth certificates to be altered only for corrections on paternity and name changes.
“It provides no procedure or standard by which a court … may change the sex recorded on a birth certificate to reflect a different gender identity,” the attorney general’s court filing read.
“A court’s general equitable powers do not provide such authority, either. The ‘inherent equity power’ of the judiciary is limited by historical practice, which does not include judicial alteration of birth certificates to reflect gender identity,” Mr. Rokita‘s brief stated.
About half of states allow transgender individuals to change their birth certificates sans a court order or surgical procedure, The Associated Press has reported, citing the pro-transgender group Movement Advancement Project.