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Not OK: Non-Binary Birth Certificates Upset GOP Leaders in Oklahoma

Not OK: Non-Binary Birth Certificates Upset GOP Leaders in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and other state Republican leaders expressed outrage Thursday after learning the State Department of Health issued a birth certificate this year with a nonbinary gender designation.

The Health Department issued the birth certificate in May to Oregon resident Kit Lorelied, who was born in Oklahoma and who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. People who are nonbinary do not identify with traditional male or female gender assignments.

Kit Lorelied sued after the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH)  initially refused their request. OSDH, which is represented by the Office of the State Attorney General, reached a settlement in May in which it agreed to add nonbinary as an option on birth certificates. “Having a birth certificate that matches my identity means that the government respects my right to exist without having to hide who I am,” Lorelied told the website NonDoc in an email. “It means that I can be treated with the dignity that any citizen deserves.”

But Gov. Stitt condemned the settlement, expressing his clear misunderstanding of what gender assignment means. “I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period,” Stitt said in a statement. “There is no such thing as non-binary sex and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”

Republican State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom has filed a bill for the upcoming session that would require male and female to be the only options on birth certificates. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia currently recognize nonbinary gender status and permit such designation on identifying documents, according to Lorelied’s lawsuit.

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