Judge temporarily dismisses trans birth-certificate suit

Judge temporarily dismisses trans birth-certificate suit

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A federal judge last week dismissed the antibias lawsuit of a New Jersey trans woman who seeks a birth certificate that matches her gender identity.

But U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp said “Jane Doe” may file an amended complaint by Sept. 15. If an amended complaint isn’t filed by that deadline, Doe’s case will be permanently dismissed.

Shipp’s Aug. 16 order didn’t specify a reason for temporarily dismissing Doe’s case. The two-page order was issued a day after Shipp held oral arguments on the dispute in Trenton.

Doe reportedly suffers from gender dysphoria and seeks to change the gender designation on her birth certificate without undergoing surgery. New Jersey officials currently require proof of gender-confirmation surgery prior to issuing to a trans person a revised birth certificate with a different gender.

Doe filed suit last year, alleging that requiring surgery for a gender-accurate birth certificate is discriminatory and violates her constitutional rights.

New Jersey officials requested that Doe’s suit be dismissed, contending Doe already has an accurate birth certificate reflecting her male anatomy at birth.

The defendants were state Registrar Vincent T. Arrisi and state Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett, along with the agencies they head: the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and the New Jersey Department of Health, respectively.

A coalition of LGBT-related groups filed an amicus brief in support of Doe. The groups include Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Gender Justice; Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project; LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National LGBT Bar Association; National LGBTQ Task Force; Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; Trans United; and Whitman-Walker Clinic.

Neither side had a comment for this story.

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