Oklahoma governor signs ban on nonbinary birth certificates

Apr 26, 2022, 3:04 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2022, 7:05 am
FILE - Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt delivers his State of the State address in Oklahoma City, on Monda...

FILE - Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt delivers his State of the State address in Oklahoma City, on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. Stitt has signed a bill prohibiting the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates. The first-term Republican signed the bill Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams, File)

(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Tuesday explicitly prohibiting the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates, a ban experts say is the first of its kind in the nation.

The bill followed a flap last year over the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s agreement in a civil case allowing a nonbinary option. The birth certificate in that case was issued to an Oklahoma-born Oregon resident who sued after the agency initially refused the request. People who are nonbinary do not identify with traditional male or female gender assignments.

News of the settlement prompted outrage among Republicans, including Stitt, who along with fellow conservatives in a number of GOP-led states have been engaged in a culture war over issues like restricting LGBTQ and abortion rights that drive the party’s base in an election year. Stitt’s appointee to lead the agency abruptly resigned the next day, and the governor then promptly issued an executive order prohibiting any changes to a person’s gender on birth certificates, despite the settlement agreement. A civil rights group has challenged the executive order in federal court, but the state has not yet responded.

Many states only offer male or female gender options on birth certificates, but Oklahoma is the first to write the nonbinary prohibition into law, according to Lambda Legal, the civil rights group suing Oklahoma.

Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia specifically allow a gender marker designation outside of male or female, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. That number will increase on July 1 when Vermont’s new statute goes into effect.

“People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth,” said Oklahoma Rep. Sheila Dills, the House sponsor of the bill, in a statement after the bill passed the House last week. “We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue.”

Oklahomans in 2020 elected the nation’s first openly nonbinary legislator in the country, Oklahoma City Democrat Rep. Mauree Turner, who said it was painful to have colleagues single out those who are gender diverse.

“I find it a very extreme and grotesque use of power in this body to write this law and try to pass it — when literally none of them live like us,” Turner tweeted the day the bill was debated.

Republicans in conservative states across the country have introduced several bills this year targeting transgender and nonbinary people. Oklahoma’s governor earlier this year signed a bill prohibiting transgender girls from playing on female sports teams, one of many such bans being signed into law across the country. Other conservative states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas, have passed laws prohibiting gender-confirming treatments for minors.

The U.S. State Department recently announced it had issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation, marking a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, and expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year.

Doctors and scientists say sex and gender are not the same thing. While sex typically refers to anatomy, gender identity is more an inner sense of being male, female or somewhere in between, regardless of physical anatomy, according to Dr. Jason Rafferty, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island and a lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ transgender policy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, waves as he walks past Bavarian mountain riflemen and traditional ...
Associated Press

Biden, G-7 leaders huddle on energy, inflation, Ukraine war

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Joe Biden and his Group of Seven allies will huddle Sunday on strategies to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, aiming to keep the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from splintering the global coalition working to punish Moscow. Biden arrived in Germany’s picturesque Bavarian alps early Sunday morning for […]
22 hours ago
A staff member works at the Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong's porcelain factory, in Hong Kong, Wed...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Hong Kong’s last hand-painted porcelain factory

HONG KONG (AP) — Step into Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong’s last remaining hand-painted porcelain factory, and you find yourself surrounded by stacks of dinnerware, each piece painstakingly decorated by hand with vibrant motifs of flowers, fruits and animals. Joseph Tso, the third-generation owner of the factory, and his small team are among the […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: June 26, first Harry Potter book published

Today in History Today is Sunday, June 26, the 177th day of 2022. There are 188 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On June 26, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco. On this date: In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Rep. Mary Miller calls Roe decision ‘victory for white life’

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, speaking at a rally Saturday night with former President Donald Trump, called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.” Miller’s spokesman said the Illinois Republican had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life.” […]
22 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenu...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion has catapulted businesses of all types into the most divisive corner of politics. Some companies that stayed silent last month — when a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico — spoke up for the first time Friday, including The […]
22 hours ago
FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pr...
Associated Press

WHO panel says Monkeypox is not a global emergency ‘at this stage’

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization said the escalating monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries should be closely monitored but does not warrant being declared a global health emergency. In a statement Saturday, a WHO emergency committee said many aspects of the outbreak were “unusual” and acknowledged that monkeypox — which is endemic […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Oklahoma governor signs ban on nonbinary birth certificates