Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill into law Tuesday that ensures only “male” and “female” gender options are offered on birth certificates issued in the state.
According to Fox 13 News, Oklahoma is the first state to write a ban on nonbinary gender markers on birth certificates into law.
Oklahoma State Representative Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa), the House sponsor of the bill, said in a statement last week:
People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth. We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue.
NBC News reported Oklahoma State Rep. Mauree Turner (D-Oklahoma City), who identifies as a nonbinary individual, tweeted regarding the bill’s approval, “I find it a very extreme and grotesque use of power in this body to write this law and try to pass it – when literally none of them live like us.”
But State Senator Michael Bergstrom (R-Adair), the principal author of the bill, said:
People are free to identify however they’d like to, but our official state documents need to include factual information, including the correct biological sex designation. I’m glad Oklahoma is leading the nation on this issue and making it clear that we are following the science – not just the social whims of some in this country.
Last year, the Oklahoma State Department of Health agreed to a settlement in a civil lawsuit, brought by an Oregon resident who was born in Oklahoma, the terms of which allowed birth certificates to have gender markers other than “male” or “female.”
Stitt, however, issued an executive order blocking changes to gender on birth certificates, despite the settlement agreement.
According to Fox 13 News, LGBTQ activist group Lambda Legal challenged Stitt’s executive order in federal court, but the state has not responded.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]