Board of Examiners sends $321,000 lawsuit bill to Legislature
by Idaho Reports staff
The Board of Examiners has approved a $321,224 payment to plaintiffs who sued the state over its process for changing gender markers on birth certificates.
During its Tuesday meeting, the board sent the bill to the Legislature, rather than paying it immediately through the Constitutional Defense Fund. As first reported by Idaho Reports, the board’s subcommittee recommended sending the funding request to the Legislature as a supplemental appropriation.
Since its inception, the Legislature’s Constitutional Defense Fund has paid out more than $3 million in legal fees after losing court cases, most of which have been in the last eight years, according to Boise State Public Radio.
The Board of Examiners is made up of the governor, attorney general, state controller, and secretary of state.
The lawsuit came after the Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 509 in 2020, which would have required vital statistics be recorded on a birth certificate and outlined ways a birth certificate could be amended. It would have prevented transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificate.
The bill came after a 2018 federal decision that found preventing people from changing their birth certificate violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
After Gov. Brad Little signed the 2020 law, the plaintiffs in a case against the state asked the court to require the Department of Health and Welfare to allow transgender people to amend the sex on their birth certificates.
On June 1, 2020, a federal magistrate court barred IDHW from automatically rejecting applications from transgender individuals to change the sex listed on their birth certificates and required the department to “institute a meaningful and constitutionally-sound process for accepting, reviewing, and considering applications from transgender individuals to amend the gender listed on their birth certificates,” according to the order.
The state later tried to argue that a transgender person could get a court order to change their birth certificate, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale disagreed.