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Gender Change Bill Hits Unexpected Snag With LGBT Rights Group

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A bill moving through the Utah legislature is supposed to set clear guidelines for courts when people request a gender change, but LGBT groups say it’s not ready yet.

Sen.Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said current law is so vague that petitioners wanting to change genders on their birth certificate are running into a problem.

“Some judges are granting petitions for gender change and some judges are denying petitions for gender change,” Weiler told the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Monday.

The Republican Senator said his S.B. 138 would clarify what a judge should consider in those cases.

Equality Utah was initially supportive of the bill, but after Weiler changed some of the language, the LGBT rights group said it discriminated against transgender people. 

They also took issue with a line that would require anyone requesting a name or gender change to live in the same county for at least a year.

“I’m really confident that if we press pause and work together, we can fix the problems in this bill,” said Equality Utah board member Clifford Rosky.

The committee passed the bill on a 3-1 vote after Weiler promised he’d work out the issues with stakeholders before the bill’s next debate before the full Senate.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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