Kansas will stop allowing people to change the sex on their birth certificates to reflect their chosen gender identities, the state Department of Health and Environment said Friday.
The decision from the state makes Kansas one of the four states that won't change people's birth certificates. It already was among the few states that won't change the sex designation on a transgender person's driver's license.
Birth certificates that have already been changed are still valid, but “if a certified copy of that record is requested, then the new copy must reflect the sex assigned at birth," the health department said on its website.
The law says that state entities that collect “vital statistics for the purpose of complying with anti-discrimination laws or for the purpose of gathering accurate public health, crime, economic or other data shall identify each person who is part of the collected data set as either male or female at birth.”
In a statement on Friday, Mr. Kobach said he was pleased that the health department was “now complying with Kansas law in the wake of the recent federal district court order.”
Governor ObjectsThe Republican-dominated state Legislature overrode Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of the legislation in April.
Ms. Kelly voiced her opposition to the new law in a statement on Friday.
“As I’ve said before, the state should not discriminate or encroach into Kansans’ personal lives—it’s wrong, it’s bad for business.”
She added: "However, I am committed to following the law. Agencies will comply with the courts’ orders and work to implement S.B. 180 as appropriate.”
Kansas joins Montana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in prohibiting people from changing their birth certificates. Montana and Tennessee also don't allow changes to driver's licenses.
From 2019 through June 2023, more than 900 Kansas residents changed the sex designation on their birth certificates and nearly 400 changed their driver's licenses.
Under Republican administrations before Ms. Kelly took office, transgender residents were not allowed to change their birth certificates.
Four transgender residents represented by Lambda Legal sued the state in 2018 over that policy, and months after taking office, Ms. Kelly settled that lawsuit. A federal judge signed off on a settlement agreement requiring the state to change transgender people’s birth certificates.
In late June, Mr. Kobach filed a request with the same federal judge, asking him to lift the requirement because it conflicted with the new state law. The judge granted the request in August, saying he was leaving it to Kansas courts to determine how the law must be enforced.
Mr. Kobach also filed a separate state lawsuit in July to prevent people from changing their driver’s licenses. A state district court judge ordered that such changes cease, at least through early January.