Montana officials to process birth certificate gender changes after judge threatens contempt charges

Originally published at: Montana officials to process birth certificate gender changes after judge threatens contempt charges | Boing Boing


This seems like it would be similar to any other sort of name change - do birth certificates typically get updated when someone does a name change (other than getting married - I’m pretty sure they don’t in that case)?

If they do make changes to birth certificates in the case of a name change, do they remove the original and replace it? Add another birth certificate to the record? Have an “amended” birth certificate entry? I’m just curious on what the typical procedure is (not just for Montana), since it seems like a bureaucracy would want some kind of paper trail on any changes.


While there is a countrywide model vital records policy; it’s recommended. Not required. States have done various policies regarding trans people and others over time regarding amending records.

In NY - I would not be able to get a copy of my original non amended bc without a district Court order. Nor would anyone else.


Ah, so basically an updated birth certificate is in the main database, but there’s an archive of the original somewhere? Does the public record note that it’s an amended birth certificate? Or do you have to know it’s been changed in order to even know to request the original?

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No. The bc you receive after amendment is no different from any others. There’s no way to out someone with it. And no one else can request a copy of your bc - regardless.


That’s good to know - at least they’re being smart about it in some areas of government.


The first law on amending bc for trans people - in the US - was 1956. They’ve had plenty of time to think about this.

Prior to laws - people would get informal changes or sue for them. With various degrees of success.

They’ve always had to have procedures for amending these records. Mistakes are made etc.


Looks like “officials refusing to comply with laws regarding trans people’s birth certificates” is the new “officials refusing to comply with laws regarding marriage licenses for same-sex couples.”

Speaking of which, looks like we finally got some kind of long-overdue conclusion to the Kim Davis debacle from 2015.


Yep. Montana Writ of Mandamus (forces government to take an action that is required under law) has damage provisions. To the government, not the individual employees. Pretty sure all states do. But I’m law talking here - not a lawyer being.

Mont. Code § 27-26-402

Current through the 2021 Legislative Session

Section 27-26-402 - Judgment for applicant

If judgment is given for the applicant:

(1) the applicant may recover the damages that the applicant has sustained, as found by the jury or as determined by the court or referees, if a reference was ordered, together with costs;

(2) an execution may issue for the damages and costs; and

(3) a peremptory mandate must be awarded without delay.

§ 27-26-402, MCA

En. Sec. 393, p. 124, Bannack Stat.; re-en. Sec. 452, p. 225, L. 1867; re-en. Sec. 528, p. 143, Cod. Stat. 1871; re-en. Sec. 558, p. 183, L. 1877; re-en. Sec. 558, 1st Div. Rev. Stat. 1879; re-en. Sec. 576, 1st Div. Comp. Stat. 1887; re-en. Sec. 1971, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7224, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 9858, R.C.M. 1921; Cal. C. Civ. Proc. Sec. 1095; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 5, L. 1925; re-en. Sec. 9858, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-9112(part); amd. Sec. 57, Ch. 12, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 723, Ch. 56, L. 2009.


Not sure why the judge couldn’t hit them with contempt charges anyway. Why should they get a 2nd chance when they were clearly in contempt the first time?

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