South Dakota attempts to ban gender changes on birth certificates

Mon. February 1, 2021 2:44 PM by Gerald Farinas

photo credit // sharon mccutcheon on
Pierre, SD - South Dakota legislators revived a bill that would ban people from changing the sex marker on their birth certificate after one year. Transgender persons and advocates say this is a direct attack on their rights.

After dying in a state House committee with seven bipartisan members voting against it, other Republicans forced the bill to a full House vote using a rare legislative rule.

Rep. Fred Deutsch, a Republican of Florence, wrote the bill and insists on its passage in any way possible.

Deutsch has a history of proposing anti-transgender measures. A year ago, he proposed a ban on physicians prescribing puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and gender-affirming surgery to anyone under the age of 16 even with parental consent. It was killed in a five-to-two Senate committee vote.

In 2016, Deutsch proposed a bill that restricted school restroom usage to birth gender.

Lawmakers are already discussing the possibility of reviving a bill banning student athletes from competing in sports in a class different from their birth gender.

Deutsch argues that his anti-transgender measures are not based on hate but rather claiming it is important for government to know who was born as male versus female.

The bill states, “Allowing persons to have their vital records, including birth certificates, altered, in accordance with their subjective identification or feelings about their sex undermines the government's compelling interest in maintaining accurate vital records.”

“Either biology matters or it doesn't,” Deutsch complains.

He also explained to KELO-TV, “There's a problem with the courts in South Dakota interpreting sex differently, some courts grant the benefit to change sex on a birth certificate and others deny it.”

“It's incredibly disrespectful,” Democrat Rep. Erin Healy of Sioux City said. “It's infuriating. … We are disrupting the lives of a vulnerable population, and I think what we are missing today is empathy and compassion.”

Advocates say they are prepared to challenge any anti-transgender bill that does pass in federal court.