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Montana restricts birth certificate changes for transgender people

The rule puts Montana among the strictest states in the U.S. effectively bars trans people from changing the sex on their birth certificates

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Montana Department of Public Health (Photo Credit: Eliza Wiley / MTFP)

By Mara Silvers | HELENA – Montana’s public health department said Friday it would adopt a new administrative rule that bars state residents from changing the sex on their birth certificates except in narrow circumstances. The now-final rule makes it nearly impossible for transgender Montanans to update the document to align with their gender identity.

The department’s change comes despite a judge’s preliminary injunction in April blocking a related law restricting birth certificate changes. That law, Senate Bill 280, would have required proof of surgery and a court order before a person could change the listed sex on their birth certificate, a less restrictive threshold than the new rule. 

As written, the new policy says the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate may only be corrected if it was the “result of a scrivener’s error or a data entry error,” or if a person’s listed sex was proven to be incorrect by “chromosomal, molecular, karyotypic, DNA, or genetic testing.” 

The policy doesn’t allow a birth certificate change based on self-reported gender identity, alignment with other official documents or after gender-affirming surgeries. It makes Montana one of the most restrictive states in the country for trans people who want to change their birth certificates.

The department’s new policy says the changes reflect its belief that sex, unlike a person’s gender identity, is a “biological concept” that cannot be changed. Additionally, the health department said the rule filled a “regulatory gap” created by Judge Michael Moses’ temporary injunction of SB 280, and also met the department’s obligation to maintain accurate vital records.

In a statement responding to the Friday announcement, the Montana Human Rights Network called the policy a “deeply disturbing” move by the administration of Gov. Greg Gianforte.

“They have gone against the advice of physical and mental health experts, teachers, parents and affected community members,” said Shawn Reagor, Director of Equality and Economic Justice at MHRN. “Montanans made their will clear in the public comment process, and the justification the Gianforte administration has given for flying in the face of that will can most generously be described as gaslighting and misleading.” 

In a statement Friday about the new birth certificate rule, Gianforte press secretary Brooke Stroyke said the state “has an obligation to ensure the accuracy of vital records like birth certificates. This rule accomplishes that, and is consistent with law and science.”

The decision to adopt the new rule is nearly identical to the emergency rule the department enacted in May following the court’s injunction. That measure was forcefully criticized by transgender, nonbinary and two-spirit Montanans, as well as family members, supporters of LGBTQ+ civil rights, Democratic lawmakers and public health advocates. 

In a June Zoom call with over a hundred attendees, dozens of opponents testified that the rule would negatively impact the health and wellbeing of trans people by forcing them to keep birth certificates that are incongruent with their gender identity and presentation. Opponents further said the rule could negatively impact trans peoples’ mental health and increase risks of suicidality among an already marginalized community. Only one person testified in favor of the proposal.

The department on Friday addressed the comments raised in public testimony, as state law requires, but largely dismissed opponents’ concerns as lacking evidence or being unconvincing. 

“These comments allege that the rule will lead to increased rates of suicide within the transgender community. The department does not believe that there is scientific evidence — and commenters presented no such evidence — that the failure of birth certificates to reflect transgender individuals’ gender identity leads to an increase in suicide in the transgender community,” said the department’s response, signed by the Director of Public Health and Human Services Charlie Brereton.

Dr. Lauren Wilson, vice president of Montana’s chapter for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement Friday that the department’s decision was “extremely disappointing” and disregarded available research on the importance of affirming policies for transgender people.

“There is ample and strong evidence that the ability to socially transition (which involves living fully in their gender, and having matching documentation at school and work) improves mental health outcomes for transgender individuals,” Wilson said. “Allowing transgender people to update their documentation has been shown to be beneficial to their well-being and safety, and doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

Other commenters in June, including former DPHHS administrator Zoe Barnard, took issue with the legality of the rule and argued it didn’t meet the standard of being “reasonably necessary.” In her testimony, Barnard also said the department’s goal of maintaining its vital records system could have been achieved in other ways. The department, responding to Barnard’s comment, faulted her for failing “to identify what such options are.” 

In a Friday interview, Barnard said the department was shirking its responsibility to explain the reason for its rulemaking. 

“The agency shouldn’t shift [its] responsibility to the public,” Barnard said. “They are being willfully blind to the bulk of evidence which is a poor basis for sound public policy.”

The new rule will go into effect despite the ongoing legal battle over SB 280. Attorneys with the ACLU of Montana, which is representing the transgender plaintiffs in that case, said they will be back in court next Thursday in a hearing to clarify the judge’s preliminary injunction from April.

Akilah Lane, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, said Friday that the new rule appeared to violate the judge’s order as the emergency rule did before. 

“It’s in direct contravention,” she said. “This action is just further evidence of the state’s noncompliance with the preliminary injunction.”

Stroyke, with the governor’s office, did not respond to an additional request to comment on Lane’s statement that the state was in violation of the judge’s April order.

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Mara Silvers writes about health and human services stories happening in local communities, the Montana statehouse and the court system. She also produces the Shared State podcast in collaboration with MTPR and YPR. Before joining Montana Free Press, Mara worked in podcast and radio production at Slate and WNYC. She was born and raised in Helena, MT and graduated from Seattle University in 2016.

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The preceding piece was previously published by Montana Free Press and is republished with permission.

SUPPORT A FREE AND INDEPENDENT PRESS

Unbiased, unflinching journalism is critical to our democracy. When you donate to Montana Free Press, you are helping build a newsroom that serves the people of Montana, not advertisers or special interests. (Link)

Montana

Montana health dept. now “intends to comply” with court order

“Throughout this whole process, DPHHS has shown clear disdain for the courts, the will of the people, and especially transgender Montanans”

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Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services building (Screenshot/Montana Public Radio)

By Mara Silvers | BILLINGS – The Montana state health department said Monday it now intends to comply with last week’s district court order in which a Billings judge instructed the agency to reinstate a process for allowing transgender Montanans to update the sex on their birth certificates. 

The announcement represents a shift from the department’s response to an oral bench ruling from Judge Michael Moses last Thursday. Last week, Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Charlie Brereton said the department was awaiting a written copy of the ruling and that the agency would continue to enforce a different rule adopted in September that bars changes to the sex on birth certificates based on a person’s gender identity.

The dispute stems from ongoing litigation over Senate Bill 280, signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte, which would make it harder for transgender people to update the sex on their birth certificate. That bill sought to replace a more lenient 2017 administrative rule adopted under former Gov. Steve Bullock. 

During last week’s hearing, Moses told attorneys representing the health department and the ACLU of Montana that he was “clear as a bell” in an April order pausing the law while the case continued and reimplementing the “status quo” from 2017. 

Instead of reverting to the 2017 standard following that April order, the health department enacted an emergency rule allowing a person’s sex designation to be changed only to correct a data entry error or upon submittal of DNA or genetic testing evidence to show that the listed sex is incorrect. The department later adopted a formal version of that rule in September, despite substantial opposition expressed in public testimony. The agency’s leadership has said it sees sex as a “biological concept” that cannot be changed and that its rules help maintain the accuracy of vital records and statistics.

Moses said in last week’s hearing that the department’s decision to enact new rules instead of reverting to the 2017 status quo violated his order and that, in doing so, health officials were “thumbing their nose at orders of courts.” 

The judge reiterated his displeasure with the department’s actions on Monday in his written order, writing that if state officials “require further clarification, they are welcome to request it from the Court rather than engage in activities that constitute unlawful violations of the Order.”

Moses also said that any motions from the ACLU of Montana to hold the department in contempt of court “based on continued violations” of his orders “will be promptly considered.”

The health department has said it has never considered itself in violation of the April injunction, instead arguing that the subsequent, more restrictive rules it created were an attempt to fill a regulatory void created by the judge’s “vague” order. On Monday, the department indicated it still took issue with the ruling.

“The Department has received the court’s order clarifying the preliminary injunction and despite disagreeing with it, intends to comply with its terms,” the statement said. “The Department stands by its actions and analysis concerning the April 2022 preliminary injunction decision, as set forth in its rulemaking that addressed critical regulatory gaps left by the court.”

The department also said it is “carefully considering next steps in the litigation.”

Health Department spokesman Jon Ebelt did not immediately respond to an additional question asking what day the department intended to re-implement the 2017 standards. 

Alex Rate, an attorney for the ACLU, said the department should have no issue in reimplementing the old standard while the lawsuit unfolds, but added he’s skeptical that the agency will act in accordance with the intent of the judge’s order. 

“I’m in ‘prove it’ mode,” Rate said in a Thursday phone call. “We need to start processing these applications before I’ll take them at their word.”

Forward Montana, an advocacy group that represents young people and supports transgender rights, also expressed continued frustration at the department’s recent actions. 

“Throughout this whole process, including the DPHHS’s most recent response, the Department has shown clear disdain for the courts, the will of the people, and especially transgender Montanans who are simply trying to live safe, happy lives in our state,” said Izzy Milch, senior advocacy manager with Forward Montana. “Compliance with this court order is a step in the right direction, and we hope that trans Montanans will now have access to accurate ID as this litigation continues to unfold.”

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Mara Silvers writes about health and human services stories happening in local communities, the Montana statehouse and the court system. She also produces the Shared State podcast in collaboration with MTPR and YPR. Before joining Montana Free Press, Mara worked in podcast and radio production at Slate and WNYC. She was born and raised in Helena, MT and graduated from Seattle University in 2016.

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The preceding piece was previously published by Montana Free Press and is republished with permission.

SUPPORT A FREE AND INDEPENDENT PRESS

Unbiased, unflinching journalism is critical to our democracy. When you donate to Montana Free Press, you are helping build a newsroom that serves the people of Montana, not advertisers or special interests. (Link)

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Montana

Montana health dept. defies judge’s order on birth certificates

DPHHS Director Charlie Brereton says new restriction on changing listed sex will remain in effect, despite a rebuke from a Billings judge

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Billings District Court Judge Michael Moses, right, speaks to ACLU of Montana attorneys, center, and state attorneys representing the Department of Public Health and Human Services, left, in a September 15, 2022 court hearing regarding Senate Bill 280. (Screenshot via televised court proceedings)

By Mara Silvers | BILLINGS = The Montana state health department said Thursday it will not abide a district court judge’s order to temporarily reinstate a 2017 procedure allowing transgender Montanans to update the sex listed on their birth certificates. 

Instead, the department said it would continue to enforce a rule it adopted last week that essentially bars any changes to the listed sex on a person’s birth certificate. That new policy, which received vocal opposition in public testimony, dealt a blow to transgender Montanans who want to amend their identification documents to match their gender identity and presentation. Department representatives have said the rule reflects the agency’s stance that sex is a “biological concept” that cannot be changed.

In a court appearance Thursday morning, Billings judge Michael Moses told attorneys representing the state health department that the new rule “circumvented” his preliminary injunction in April ordering the state to halt enforcement of last year’s Senate Bill 280. That bill, signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, also restricted changes to birth certificates.

Plaintiff attorneys from the ACLU of Montana had requested Thursday’s proceeding to clarify the judge’s April order in light of the department’s new rulemaking. Moses said from the bench that his order was “clear as a bell” in directing the state to revert to the 2017 status quo until the constitutional questions in the case could be fully litigated.

“It’s simple and clear. I said ‘all aspects.’ And what was undertaken by the department in this particular case, upon whoever’s idea it was, simply violates this court’s preliminary injunction,” said Moses.

Attorneys representing the health department said the agency had indeed stopped all enforcement of SB 280 and instead created the new rule for handling requests to change birth certificates. Moses dismissed those arguments and rebuked the state for trying to “sneak around” the intent of his order. 

“Those rules circumvent the preliminary injunction issued by this court. Clearly do,” Moses said, addressing lawyers representing the state health department and plaintiff counsel from the ACLU of Montana. “The timing by the department is disastrous because they’re simply thumbing their nose at orders of courts.”

Moses’ preliminary injunction represents a temporary order halting enforcement of the 2021 birth certificate law while the case before him, which challenges the law’s constitutionality, proceeds. Preliminary injunctions are commonly issued by judges in civil cases in an effort to maintain the “status quo” of a situation while litigation drags out for months or years.

Moses said Thursday that the status quo in this case was a prior 2017 policy created by the administration of former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. That rule allowed transgender people to fill out a short form asking to update the listed sex on their birth certificate. Going back to that standard, Moses said, would avoid the possibility of violating plaintiffs’ constitutional rights if the challenged law were to take effect. 

But hours after Moses issued his decision from the bench, Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Charlie Brereton responded with a statement saying the department doesn’t consider its new rule a violation of the judge’s April order and as such would keep it in place.

“The Department thoroughly evaluated the judge’s vague April 2022 decision and crafted our final rule to be consistent with the decision,” Brereton wrote. “It’s unfortunate that the judge’s ruling today does not square with his vague April decision. The 2022 final rule that the Department issued on September 9 remains in effect, and we are carefully considering next steps.”

Shawn Reagor, Director of Equality and Economic Justice at the Montana Human Rights Network, called Brereton’s statement “appalling.”

“We will not stand by while the Gianforte administration blatantly disregards rulings from the courts to continue an intentional and vindictive attack on the trans community,” Reagor said in a written statement. “The judge was very clear the department must go back to the 2017 rule. This is a clear example of the lack of regard the administration has for the courts and its determination to make the lives of transgender people in the state more difficult.”

In response to an additional request for clarification about how Brereton’s statement aligned with the judge’s order, health department spokesman Jon Ebelt said Thursday the agency was “awaiting a written order from today’s hearing, and carefully considering next steps.”

Akilah Lane, one of the ACLU of Montana attorneys representing two transgender plaintiffs in this case, said in a phone interview Thursday that Brereton’s statement was “really unexpected.”

“There was a moment of celebration because it meant that for the time being [transgender Montanas] had some space to breathe without a discriminatory law in place. And the department moved very swiftly to take the wind out of their sails,” she said. 

Lane said the counsel for plaintiffs had not yet decided how they would respond to the department’s stance in court, but called Brereton’s statement “pretty brazen.”

“The statement reads as if the department believes that they’re above the law,” she said.

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Mara Silvers writes about health and human services stories happening in local communities, the Montana statehouse and the court system. She also produces the Shared State podcast in collaboration with MTPR and YPR. Before joining Montana Free Press, Mara worked in podcast and radio production at Slate and WNYC. She was born and raised in Helena, MT and graduated from Seattle University in 2016.

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The preceding piece was previously published by Montana Free Press and is republished with permission.

SUPPORT A FREE AND INDEPENDENT PRESS

Unbiased, unflinching journalism is critical to our democracy. When you donate to Montana Free Press, you are helping build a newsroom that serves the people of Montana, not advertisers or special interests. (Link)

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Montana

Judge blocks Montana’s anti-trans birth certificate update rule

“Forcing anyone to carry documents that contradict their identity is unconstitutional and marks transgender people for further mistreatment”

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Yellowstone County Court District Court, Billings, MT. (Photo Credit: Screenshot/Google Earth)

BILLINGS, Mt. — A Montana judge ruled today the state may not prevent transgender people from updating their birth certificates while the case challenging the constitutionality of a law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature, SB 280, proceeds.

SB 280 requires a court order that one has received surgical treatment before they can obtain an amended and accurate birth certificate.

A state district court granted a preliminary injunction in Marquez v. State of Montana last April ruling that SB 280 likely is unconstitutional and enjoined enforcement of any aspect of that law pending resolution of the case.

The Yellowstone County Court District Court Judge Michael Moses ruled from the bench, granting the plaintiffs’ motion to clarify the preliminary injunction in Marquez v. The State of Montana and rejecting an effort by the state to circumvent the injunction against enforcement of SB 280.

According to the Associated Press, Moses chided attorneys for the state during a hearing in Billings for circumventing his April order that temporarily blocked a 2021 Montana law that made it harder to change birth certificates.

Moses said there was no question that the new rule recently adopted by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services violated his earlier order. The court’s action reinstates a 2017 Department of Public Health and Human Services rule that eased the process of changing one’s birth certificate.

He then expressed annoyance with the attempted end run around his injunction.

Moses said his April ruling had been “clear as a bell” and compared the state’s subsequent actions to a person twice convicted of assault who tries to change their name following a third offense to avoid prosecution.

“Isn’t that exactly what happened here?” Moses asked. “I’m a bit offended the department thinks they can do anything they want.”

The following statement was issued Thursday after the hearing by the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU Foundation LGBTQ & HIV Project, and Nixon Peabody LLP: 

“We’re thankful the court saw the state’s discriminatory new rule for what it was: a desperate effort to circumvent the judicial process and target transgender Montanans. Forcing anyone to carry documents that contradict their identity is unjust and unconstitutional, and such a rule marks transgender people for further mistreatment and discrimination. We’ll continue to fight this baseless law until no transgender person is denied this fundamental right.”

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Montana

Montana Dept. of Health & Human Services defies court on Trans order

The State is willfully refusing to comply & in doing so is showing their true colors- these regulations are about harming trans Montanans

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Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services building (Screenshot/Montana Public Radio)

BILLINGS, Mt. – The state of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is openly defying an order by a state district court which had granted a preliminary injunction requiring the agency to comply with the Court’s order to return to the 2017 standard for changing the gender marker on birth certificates.

Nearly one month after a state district court granted a preliminary injunction in Marquez v. State of Montana, the State is still refusing to comply.  

On April 21, 2022, a Yellowstone County District Court ordered the state to stop enforcing SB 280, a law passed last year that restricts how and when the gender marker on a Montana birth certificate can be changed, and to revert to the previous procedure in place for updating the gender marker on a birth certificate. That procedure allowed for transgender Montanans to update the gender marker on their birth certificate through various means, including completion of a simple attestation form.  

The department issued an emergency order Monday claiming that the agency is unable to comply saying said the court’s decision leaves them in “an ambiguous and uncertain situation,” which officials are blaming saying they cannot return to the “status quo” as requested by the court order, because that system no longer exists, since SB 280 required the department eliminate the 2017 rule.

“The court did not issue a mandatory injunction directing the department to re-implement the 2017 rule,” the emergency rule read. “Accordingly, there is currently no non-enjoined regulatory mechanism by which the department can accept and process birth certificate sex identification amendment applications.”

“Sex is different from gender and is an immutable genetic fact, which is not changeable, even by surgery,” the DPHHS emergency rule continued.

The ACLU of Montana, the ACLU Foundation LGBTQ & HIV Project, and Nixon Peabody LLP who represented the two transgender plaintiffs who sought to change the gender marker on their birth certificates, and challenged Senate bill SB 280 passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature that changed the gender marker rule on birth certificates, issued a statement:

“The Court order could not be more clear. The Court ordered the State to preserve the status quo by providing our clients and all transgender Montanans the ability to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates—as was the law prior to the passage of SB 280. The State is willfully refusing to comply, and in doing so is showing their true colors – these laws and regulations are about harming transgender Montanans. We intend to take this up in Court.” 

In an email, DPHHS spokesman Jon Ebelt wrote, “The Department of Public Health and Human Services believes that all individuals should be treated with dignity and respect, and that they should be provided all of the rights and protections to which they are entitled under the Constitutions and laws of the State of Montana and of the United States. As noted in the emergency rule, the Department has an obligation to ensure the accuracy of vital records. The rule obeys the court’s order, addresses a critical regulatory gap, and remains consistent with current law, as well as the science.”

“In the state’s non-compliance with the order, they showed their true colors,” said Akilah Lane, staff attorney for the Montana ACLU. “These laws and this emergency rule are intended to harm transgender Montanans, and that’s what it has done.”

Lane said the ACLU intends to take up this matter in court and they’ve been in communication with opposing counsel on the case.

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Montana

Montana state court blocks anti-Trans birth certificate law

“The needless barrier to accurate documentation for transgender people enacted by the Montana legislature is unconstitutional”

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ACLU of Montana

BILLINGS – A state district court granted a preliminary injunction in Marquez v. State of Montana Thursday, holding that a law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature likely violates the constitutional rights of transgender Montanans.

The ACLU of Montana, the ACLU’s national office, and Nixon Peabody, LLP challenged Senate bill SB 280 on behalf of two transgender plaintiffs who seek to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

“Today is a huge win for all Montanans as we strive towards a more equal community,” said Amelia Marquez. “Our constitution provides the means to protect the most vulnerable Montanans, and I am thankful for those who continue to advocate for gender diverse Montanans and our rights.”  

“We are thrilled that the Court recognized the substantial and unnecessary burdens this law places upon transgender individuals in violation of their constitutional rights,” said Akilah Lane, staff attorney at the ACLU of Montana. “The Court’s injunction affirms the basis of our case: that SB 280 intentionally targets transgender people for unequal treatment because, as Judge Moses wrote, ‘only transgender individuals are subjected to these procedures and burdens in order to have a birth certificate that accurately reflects their gender.’” 

“This ruling is an important step forward for our clients and for others affected by the unconstitutional law,” said Seth A. Horvath, a partner with Nixon Peabody’s Complex Disputes practice. “There are limits on legislative authority, and today the court prudently enforced those limits.” 

“The needless barrier to accurate documentation for transgender people enacted by the Montana legislature is unconstitutional,” said Jon Davidson, senior staff attorney at the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Rights Project. “It was rightfully enjoined today.  This law serves no valid purpose other than to hurt transgender people like our clients Amelia Marquez and John Doe.  We’ll continue to fight this unconstitutional effort to harm transgender Montanans.” 

In this case, the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU, and Nixon Peabody are representing Amelia Marquez, a transgender woman, and John Doe, a transgender man, in their lawsuit challenging a law that makes it virtually impossible to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates. Marquez and Doe’s case asserts that Senate Bill 280 (passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature) violates their constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection of the law, and due process. 

SB 280 requires a transgender person to obtain a certified copy of an order from a court indicating that the sex of the person has been changed by “surgical procedure.” The court order must then be provided to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). For many transgender Montanans, surgical procedures are either unwanted, medically contra-indicated, or cost-prohibitive.  

In granting a preliminary injunction, the court found that, “Plaintiffs provided unrebutted evidence describing that neither gender-affirming surgery nor any other medical treatment that a transgender person undergoes changes that person’s sex. Instead, gender-affirming surgery aligns a person’s body and lived in experience with the person’s gender identity, which already exists.” 

Before the passage of SB 280, transgender Montanans needed only to provide an affidavit to DPHHS to change the gender marker on a birth certificate. This process was efficient and easy and was administered without problem for years until the legislature decided to act.    

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Montana

Trans women awarded $66k after being denied gender-affirming care

“No employee should have to tolerate being denied insurance coverage for their medically necessary health care solely because they are Trans”

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Eleanor Andersen Maloney (Photo courtesy of American Civil Liberties Union of Montana)

BILLINGS, Mt. – A Trans woman in Montana was awarded compensation last week after she was denied gender-affirming healthcare under a county health benefits plan in what LGBTQ+ advocates are hailing as a “win for transgender rights” in the state. 

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry Office of Administrative Hearings awarded Eleanor Andersen Maloney, a former prosecutor in the Yellowstone County attorney’s office, over $66,000 in damages for the discrimination she endured while working for the county – which includes Billings, Montana’s largest city.

The decision comes after a 2020 ruling from an administrative law judge at the Montana Human Rights Bureau that found Yellowstone County’s ban on gender-affirming care constitutes unlawful sex discrimination, violating the Montana Human Rights Act.

That ruling came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County, extending Civil Rights Act protections to LGBTQ+ people in employment. Since, President Joe Biden has expanded the ruling to include other areas, like housing, education and health care. 

The compensation also comes at a time when states across the country are issuing guidance confirming that excluding gender-affirming care from health benefits plans is discriminatory. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana, 21 states, including Montana, and the District of Columbia have established that such exclusions are unlawful. 

“I’m grateful that the rights of LGBTQIA+ Montanans are vindicated today,” said Eleanor Andersen Maloney in a press release. 

The damages cover lost compensation and earnings because of Maloney’s “constructive discharge” – when a person resigns due to a hostile or intolerable work environment.

“Eleanor’s victory should send a message to policymakers and employers around the country that denying health care to transgender people is costly,” said Malita Picasso, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, in the release. 

According to Picasso, multiple ACLU clients have sued over the denial of gender-affirming care and have received compensation. 

“No employee should have to tolerate being denied insurance coverage for their medically necessary health care solely because they are transgender,” she said. “A person shouldn’t be forced to ask a court just to receive medically necessary health care, but this victory reaffirms that when trans people fight back, we win.”

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