The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services adopted a rule Friday that permanently bans changes in gender on birth certificates.

The rule asserts sex is “immutable” and gender is a “social construct.”

A similar rule has already been in effect on an emergency basis since May, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana asked Judge Michael Moses to strike it down, as reported by Associated Press News.

In April, Moses temporarily blocked a 2021 Montana law that required a surgical procedure in order to change an individual’s sex on a birth certificate, stating the law was unconstitutionally vague regarding which surgeries were required for the change on the birth certificates.

The new rule, which permanently blocks changes to sex on birth certificates, was released just days before a court will hear arguments in the case brought by the ACLU over the older rule.

ACLU attorney Akilah Lane said the new rule was “further evidence of the state’s non-compliance” with Moses’ order in April, AP reported.

The new rule says an individual’s sex on their birth certificate can only be changed if sex is misidentified at the time of birth, or if the sex was mistakenly recorded as a result of “a scrivener’s error.”

The rule comes as Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen leads a 17-state coalition in a letter condemning the Biden administration’s proposed new regulations that will reinterpret sex discrimination under Title IX, originally intended to protect the rights of girls in the realm of education, to now include gender identity.

The letter, addressed to Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, states:

With this proposal, the rule would make it unlawful for a school to deny participation in any education program or activity consistent with a student’s “gender identity” . . . These changes constitute a stunning affront to the purpose of Title IX, which is to provide equal access to education and prohibit denial of education benefits and opportunities on the basis of sex. “Sex” means what it has meant since the beginning of time: the immutable fact of being male or female.

“The Biden administration is putting girls and women at risk and ignoring science while it attempts to undo any meaningful definition of biological sex,” Knudsen said in a statement. “The idealogues at the helm are also cutting parents out of important decisions regarding their children’s long-term health and well-being. I’ll continue to fight to ensure girls and women have equal opportunities, protect parental rights, and uphold Montana’s laws against federal overreach.”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Montana Capitol” by Tracey Elizabeth. CC BY 2.0.