New bill would block Utahns from legally changing their gender on paper

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – A Utah lawmaker’s new bill would target transgender Utahns, making it illegal for Utahns to change the “M” or “F” marker on their birth certificates.

Republican State Rep. Merrill Nelson of Grantsville introduced H.B. 153 Tuesday, called Utah Vital Statistics Act Amendments.

H.B. 153 would still allow people to change the name on their birth certificate with a court order but it strikes the language that would allow for a gender marker change. 

This means Utahns who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth would not be able to change their birth certificate to reflect who they are.

Utah’s current law on birth certificate gender marker changes has already been called unclear by advocates, lawmakers, and judges. As it stands, the requirements to get a gender marker change aren’t defined, thus, it varies from judge to judge. But, instead of clarifying the legal requirements an individual has to meet, as bills have tried to do in the past, Rep. Nelson’s bill eliminates the process altogether. 

The bill would also legally define “female” and “male” based on the internal and external sex organs an individual has at birth and limit the definition of “sex” to just male and female, “the innate and immutable characteristics established at conception and that can be confirmed before or at birth.”

LGBTQ advocacy groups have vowed to challenge Nelson’s bill, and Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler has talked of his plan to introduce a bill in 2019 legislative session to clarify the legal guidelines to get a gender marker change. 

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