Oklahoma becomes first state to ban gender neutral birth certificates

Oklahoma becomes first state to ban gender neutral birth certificates

Oklahoma residents will no longer be allowed to list themselves as non-binary on their birth certificates.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill prohibiting non-binary identification on the government-issued documents on Tuesday. This bill comes months after he issued an order to the state’s health department to stop issuing birth certificates with a non-binary option, making his state the first in the nation to ban the gender marker option in explicit terms.

The ban has prompted concerns about inconsistencies between state records and federal documents, as the United States has begun allowing travelers to identify as non-binary on passport applications.

Under the new law, “the biological sex designation on a certificate of birth issued under this section shall be either male or female and shall not be nonbinary or any symbol representing a nonbinary designation,” the legislation states.

Some states already limit gender designations to be either male or female, however Oklahoma is the first state to sign an explicity ban of non-binary birth certificates into law.

The state issued its first non-binary birth certificate in October 2021, which created conflict with GOP lawmakers. Since then, Stitt has said he would take “whatever action necessary” to prohibit the practice of issuing gender-neutral documentation.

“I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period,” Stitt said at the time. “There is no such thing as non-binary sex, and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported [Oklahoma State Department of Health] court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”

The bill has drawn criticism from state Rep. Mauree Turner, a Democrat, who was the first state lawmaker to identify publicly as non-binary in the United States.

“I find it 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 said in a tweet responding to the legislation. “Some of our fate, for now, lies in the hands of some people who claim to get it and some people who absolutely don’t.”

Sixteen states, along with Washington, D.C., currently allow residents to identify as male, female, or the gender-neutral “X” on birth certificates, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

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