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West Virginia governor considers bill to protect male or female on birth certificates

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice giving his State of the State address Associated Press/Photo by Chris Jackson

West Virginia governor considers bill to protect male or female on birth certificates

The state Senate passed a measure on Thursday to protect male or female sex designations on birth certificates, sending the legislation to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk for final approval. The bill protects against a third “non-binary” sex description on birth certificates. The practice is currently legal in 16 other states, according to the nonprofit group MAP, which describes itself as an “inclusive” think tank. The statute passed in the West Virginia Senate with a 33-1 vote after passing in the House of Delegates with a 93-5 vote in early February. Current West Virginia law does allow adults and minors to change between the two gender designations on birth certificates. The state’s Republican governor has not said whether he plans to sign the bill into law.

Is this the first bill of its kind? Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt enacted the first law expressly banning a third gender on birth certificates in 2022. The legislation came after the federal government issued the first passport with an X for the designated gender in 2021. North Dakota added a statute protecting gender on birth certificates last year, meaning West Virginia could be the third state in the nation to adopt such a measure.

Dig deeper: Read David C. Innes’s column in WORLD Opinions about the first transgender passport issued by the government.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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