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ACLU Demands Ohio Birth Certificates Lie About Transgender People’s Sex


On March 29, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Lambda), filed suit against the state of Ohio on behalf of four transgender individuals, claiming the Buckeye state’s refusal to issue the plaintiffs new birth certificates “conforming with their gender identity” violates their constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs include three men—Stacie Ray, Jane Doe, and Ashley Breda—and one woman, Basil Argento, all of whom seek to force Ohio to issue them new birth certificates “to accurately reflect their gender identity.” Ray, Doe, and Breda demand the state “correct” their birth certificates to list their sex as “female,” and Argento seeks a birth certificate identifying her as “male.” The foursome allege the state’s refusal to issue these new birth certificates “accurately reflecting” their sex violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.

Additionally, the plaintiffs claim Ohio’s refusal to issue new birth certificates to transgender individuals infringes on their First Amendment right to free speech by forcing them to “endorse the government’s position as to their own gender, as well as on the meaning of gender generally, through the birth certificate they must show to others.”

They further argue that “the Plaintiffs’ birth certificates convey[] the state’s ideological message that gender is determined solely by the appearance of external genitals at the time of birth and never deviates from that—a message to which each of the Plaintiffs strongly objects.”

These arguments are not new. The ACLU put forth these same legal theories just last month in a lawsuit filed against Alabama state officials. The ACLU argued Alabama’s requirement that individuals seeking to change the sex listed on their drivers’ licenses must either provide an “amended state certified birth certificate” or “a letter from the physician that performed the reassignment procedure,” is unconstitutional.

As I explained at the time, the ACLU, “in essence, is arguing that the government should not force transgender people to affirm what they believe is false, by demanding the government and everyone else to affirm something that is false.”

While the ACLU’s arguments are not new, the recent filing in Ohio further exposes two realities underlying transgender activists’ goals. First, the ACLU and transgender activists seek to enshrine in the U.S. Constitution an alternative reality.

While in their lawsuit the plaintiffs speak of seeking to have their Ohio birth certificates “accurately reflect their gender identity,” throughout their complaint they instead demand the sex listed on their birth certificate be “corrected.” However, there is nothing to correct. The plaintiffs may identify with the opposite sex, but that does not make them the opposite sex, notwithstanding the ACLU’s “factual” allegations that the male plaintiffs are women and the female plaintiff is a man.

Second, the ACLU’s lawsuit in Ohio, when considered in conjunction with its recent challenge to the Alabama law, reveals the ultimate goal of transgender activists: Sex based on self-determination. While in Thursday’s court filing the ACLU bemoaned Ohio’s birth certificate policy for standing “in sharp contrast” to the laws in 47 other states that “permit transgender people to correct the gender marker on their birth certificate to match their gender identity,” in Alabama, the ACLU argued that a policy requiring “sex reassignment” to alter the listed sex on a driver’s license was also unconstitutional. So, although in this case the attack is on biology, slowly but surely, the ACLU will attack every law that objectively defines “sex.”

This “self-determination” standard has already seen light in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on member states to “develop quick, transparent and accessible procedures, based on self-determination, for changing the name and registered sex of transgender people on birth certificates, identity cards, passports, educational certificates and other similar documents.”

PACE further entreated member states to abolish any requirement that individuals undergo medical treatment or obtain a mental health diagnosis to change their name or registered sex on legal documents. In other words, European member states should allow legal documents to be changed based on each individual’s own determination of his or her sex.

The ACLU similarly seeks to impose a “self-determination” standard on the United States, but it does so silently, with one slip down the slope at a time, first in Alabama, and now in Ohio. This piecemeal, stealth approach may work, especially with the penchant the LGBT lobby has for destroying dissenters. That power is so strong that average Americans, who fear being labeled bigots or wrongly believe compassion demands complicity, remain mute.

Yes, gender dysphoria is a serious condition and its sufferers suffer greatly. They deserve our compassion and respect. But no one is entitled to demand the government, or her citizens, profess a falsehood. There is an ideology at issue—gender ideology—and it is well past time for rational Americans to join together to proclaim the truth: The emperor has no clothes—and a man is a man.