ACLU files notice of appeal over gender marker changes on Kansas driver’s licenses

(AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas announced Thursday that it was appealing a judge’s order blocking Kansas’ Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s administration from allowing transgender people to change the sex listed on their license.

“The appeal will challenge the court’s ruling earlier this week that granted Attorney General Kris Kobach’s request for a temporary injunction, thereby ensuring that for the duration of the case proceedings, Kansans will still not be able to change their gender markers on their drivers licenses,” said the ACLU in a news release.

“Judge Watson issued a well-reasoned order, and we are confident her decision will stand on appeal,” said Kobach.

At least 22 states and the District of Columbia allow “X” as an option.

Democratic lawmakers questioned the need to move quickly to change the policy and also the agency’s argument that it’s needed for public safety.

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“The Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees all Kansans, including those who are transgender, rights of personal autonomy, privacy, and equality. The Court has mistakenly adopted the Attorney General’s overbroad interpretation of SB180, which provides no language whatsoever requiring the state to force Kansans to carry inaccurate identification cards, against their fundamental rights,” said D.C. Hiegert, LGBTQ+ Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Kansas. “But perhaps most importantly, the Court has decided that the state’s administrative interest outweighs the threat of harassment, discrimination, and violence to individual Kansans. This is clearly dangerous, and it wholly contradicts the tragic reality of current trends.”

The new policy makes it more difficult for transgender people to change the sex listed on their licenses and IDs by requiring an amended birth certificate to be submitted. Currently, a court order is required to change the sex on a birth certificate.

Under the new rules, the designated sex must match a person’s birth certificate, passport or Homeland Security document. Passports allow “X ”as an option. If a person’s passport lists “X,” the applicant must submit a form choosing male or female.

The emergency rules will be in place for 120 days as the department works on permanent ones that will go through a public comment process. They are to take effect after the full Legislative Council reviews them Friday.


The Associated Press writer John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, contributed to this report.

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