Governor Keven Stitt has faced criticism from the LGBTQ+ community over legislation in the past. courtesy

Governor Stitt prohibits nonbinary birth certificates

Stitt believes his executive order is necessary to protect Oklahoma values.

Last November, Governor Kevin Stitt directed the Oklahoma State Department of Health to stop issuing birth certificates that listed the recipient’s gender as nonbinary. Stitt, a member of the Republican Party and still in his first term, stated that his administration never approved the settlement agreement, the result of a civil case in which nonbinary birth certificates were agreed to be offered in the state of Oklahoma.

As of Jan. 2022, 103 Oklahomans have changed their gender marker on birth certificates since 2018. Two years after 2018, Oklahoma joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in establishing a nonbinary birth certificate process after an Oregon resident and Oklahoma native, Kit Lorelied, filed a federal lawsuit against the OSDH. In August of 2020, Lorelied filed a lawsuit after requesting a change in their birth certificate to reflect their nonbinary identity, meaning they don’t identify as either male or female. Lorelied’s attorneys advocated that denying the change violates the United States Constitution, adding that there was no real reason the government should deny such a change. The original lawsuit argued that by refusing to allow individuals to choose how they identify, the state of Oklahoma deprives them of equality, or equal treatment. The settlement agreed that Oklahomans may request an amended birth certificate from the Office of Vital Records, after first obtaining a court order from an Oklahoma court.

Following the settlement, Oklahoma’s health department agreed to amend birth certificates of nonbinary people on request. However, as Stitt ordered, the settlement is being tried for “correction.” Stitt argues that his actions to cease the issuing of birth certificates with nonbinary gender markers is necessary to protect the state’s values.

Since the beginning of his term, Governor Stitt has faced criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates over legislation and what he deems as traditional values. Since signing the executive order in Nov. 2021, Stitt has faced backlash from the LGBTQ political aid organization Freedom Oklahoma—a statewide advocacy group that works to support and provide protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. As state leaders plan to get involved in undoing the current settlement, many others are following Freedom Oklahoma’s stance against them as they attempt to uphold the nonbinary birth certificates’ availibility.

As a result of the executive order, Oklahoma health departments are no longer able to accept court orders for gender changes. The law will only allow for gender marker changes if an error was made initially. Governor Stitt’s executive order directs the state health department to cease amending birth certificates that are unauthorized by the state law, despite the fact that people who are nonbinary do not identify with a traditional male or female assignment. Furthermore, the executive order also demands that the OSDH remove the reference of amending birth certificates from their website as well as inform Stitt and his administration of any pending litigation regarding birth certificate amendments or other pertinent information.

Post Author: Ji Aldada