Amelia Marquez, a transgender woman, and John Doe a transgender man filed a lawsuit challenging a new law that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates. Marquez and Doe’s case asserts that Senate Bill 280 violates their constitutional right to privacy, equal protection of the law, and due process. 

SB 280 requires a transgender person to receive a certified copy of an order from a court indicating that the sex of the person has been changed by “surgical procedure.” The court order must then be provided to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). For many transgender Montanans, surgical procedures are either unnecessary or cost-prohibitive. 

Before the passage of SB 280, transgender Montanans needed only to provide an affidavit to DPHHS to change the gender marker on a birth certificate. This process was efficient and easy and was administered without problem until the legislature decided to act.   

The ACLU of Montana, the ACLU Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ and HIV Project, and Nixon Peabody LLC represent Marquez and Doe.



Marthe VanSickle, Akilah Deernose and Alex Rate of ACLU of Montana, John Knight of ACLU Foundation LGBTQ & HIV Project

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

F. Thomas Hecht, Tina B. Solis, Seth A. Horvath from Nixon Peabody LLP

Date filed

July 16, 2021


13th Judicial Court County of Yellowstone


Michael G. Moses



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