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Birth Certificate Bill Faces Uphill Battle in Senate

A new bill that would make it easier for Coloradans to change the gender on their birth certificate faces an uphill battle in the Colorado Senate. (David Prasad/Wikimedia Commons)
A new bill that would make it easier for Coloradans to change the gender on their birth certificate faces an uphill battle in the Colorado Senate. (David Prasad/Wikimedia Commons)
March 21, 2017

DENVER – The Birth Certificate Modernization Act cleared the Colorado House with bipartisan support last week, but now it faces an uphill battle after being assigned to the Senate's unofficial "kill" committee. The new law would streamline the process for changing the gender listed on birth certificates.

Laura Reinsch, political director at One Colorado, says when a person's gender doesn't match their birth certificate, they can lose housing, a job, and even the right to vote.

"And this bill will just make it so that transgender people can live their lives the way that they choose, which I think is a Colorado value," she said. "We believe in personal freedom and being able to live a life you want. And this bill will help transgender people to be able to live a life free from discrimination."

Reinsch notes under current law, a transgender person must undergo surgery and appear before a judge to prove their identity. House Bill 1122 would only require a note from a health professional supporting the change.

Two previous attempts to update the state's rules did not clear the Senate, where some opponents have said the move could lead to fraud or identity theft.

Reinsch adds the bill would put Colorado in sync with current federal policies for updating gender on a passport or Social Security card.

"The federal government uses this process that the bill would put in place for folks to update the gender on their passport or Social Security card," she explained. "So if there were real, valid concerns about fraud, the federal government and all these other states would not be using this process."

Reinsch says her group and others will be contacting members of the Senate's State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, urging them to give the bill a fair hearing.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO