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Bill that blocks transgender birth certificate changes is pulled

(Photo: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press, AP, file)

CAPITOL HILL — A bill that would prohibit someone from changing their biological sex on their birth certificates has been pulled from this year’s legislative session after members of Utah’s LGBTQ, and specifically, the transgender communities raised concerns.

House Bill 153 was taken off the docket after several lengthy discussions between the sponsor, Rep. Merrill Nelson, and members of Equality Utah.  Executive Director Troy Williams says Nelson was open to hear what they had to say.

“We’ve been going back and forth for the past three weeks, bringing transgender people to meet with Representative Nelson.  He listened and wisely, compassionately, pulled it from the agenda,” he says.

Finally, after a lengthy phone call this morning, Williams says Nelson asked him what they’re biggest concerns were.  Williams says members of the Trans community were especially concerned about privacy rules, and they felt like this was strictly an attack on them.

“We talked back and forth and had a heartfelt conversation, and he pulled the bill,” Williams says.

However, Williams says his group is still not happy with what the current laws are.  Sen. Todd Weiler says, essentially, there is no law.

“What we really have here is ‘organized anarchy,’” Weiler says.

There are several judges across Utah, according to Weiler that will automatically refuse every petition that comes forward to change a birth certificate, simply because there’s no law that requires a judge to grant them.  At the same time, Weiler says, “We have other judges in Utah who are virtually granting every petition for gender change because there’s no law that says they can deny them.”

Nelson tells the Deseret News he pulled the bill because it needs more “time and study.”