Texas Bill Related to Making Changes to Birth Certificates (SB 154)
This law was last updated on Sep 19, 2019
SB 154 would allow a person to change the name and sex designation on their birth certificate if they provide proof that they have undergone a “clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of transitioning to another sex.”
The bill would require a person applying for a new birth certificate that incorporates such changes to provide the following to the state registrar:
- a sworn affidavit by a licensed physician that includes:
- the physician’s letterhead;
- the physician’s full name;
- the physician’s medical number;
- the jurisdiction that issued the physician’s medical license;
- a statement that a physician-patient relationship exists between the physician and applicant; and
- a statement that the applicant has undergone a clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of transitioning to another sex;
- a completed application form; and
- the required fee.
The bill would not require the person applying for a new birth certificate to include a court order authorizing the name change.
A person who has been finally convicted of a felony offense subject to the sex offender registration program would not be eligible to apply for a new birth certificate, but they may petition for a change of name.
When issuing a new birth certificate, the state registrar would be required to incorporate the change of name and sex and attach to the birth certificate a change of name and sex certificate. The new birth certificate may not include the applicant’s prior name and sex that are inaccurate for the new birth certificate.
The bill would require the department to prescribe a form for applying for a new birth certificate which must:
- include eligibility requirements;
- include a statement to be signed by the applicant indicating that they are eligible; and
- require the written, signed parental consent if the applicant is a minor.
Current Texas state law allows for the issuance of a new birth certificate with an updated gender marker upon receipt of a court order for change of sex—and it must specify “sex change” and not “gender change.” According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, Texas “does not have a specific gender marker provision in its birth certificate amendment statute, and current case law and evidence indicates that some Texas officials and judges are adverse to issuing the necessary court orders.”
This bill would allow transgender people to avoid going through the courts in order to obtain a birth certificate that properly displays their gender identity. However, continuing to require proof of treatment is still discriminatory.
Requiring a person to undergo “clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of transitioning to another sex” is problematic for a few reasons. It’s not clear what type of treatment—from hormones to surgery—would qualify; and not all transgender people require, or can even afford, such procedures.
Prefiled on November 12, 2018.
2/1/19 – Referred to State Affairs.