Apr 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Oklahoma bans nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates

Photo of Kevin Stitt sitting on stage in front of an audience
Kevin Stitt, governor of Oklahoma, listens during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on July 10, 2021. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oklahoma has become the first state in the U.S. to explicitly ban nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates, AP reports.

Driving the news: Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed the bill into law on Tuesday, months after the Republican leader ordered the state Department of Health to stop issuing birth certificates with a nonbinary option.

  • Republicans grew outraged after the state issued its first birth certificate with a nonbinary gender marker in October, arguing that people can only be biologically male or female, per The Oklahoman.
  • An Oklahoma-born Oregon resident had sued after the agency initially refused to issue the certificate.

Don't forget: Oklahoma elected the first out nonbinary state legislator in the nation, Democrat Mauree Turner, in 2020.

  • "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," they tweeted on the day the bill was debated.
  • LGBTQ advocates have stressed that accurate documentation is critical for daily life, especially medical treatment, and can prevent harassment and discrimination.

Worth noting: Because the U.S. has begun offering citizens the choice to select "X" as their gender on passport applications, Oklahoma's new ban could create challenges for people whose state records don't match their federal documentation.

The big picture: Sixteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow a gender marker designation besides male or female, according to the think tank Movement Advancement Project.

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