BILLINGS, MT - (June 7, 2022) Today, the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU Foundation LGBTQ & HIV Project, and Nixon Peabody LLP filed a motion seeking clarification of the Preliminary Injunction issued by the Montana District Court for Yellowstone County in Marquez v. State of Montana on April 21, 2022. This motion is in response to the State’s refusal to comply with the Court’s Preliminary Injunction Order and the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Service’s publication of a temporary emergency rule on May 23, 2022. The emergency rule blatantly disobeys the Court's Order by denying any sex marker changes to birth certificates for transgender individuals.
The motion asks that the Court clarify in simple terms its already straightforward Preliminary Injunction Order and explain its requirement to revert back to the 2017 rules, so that the State is able to both understand and remember how it corrected sex designations on birth certificates just over one year ago. The brief also asks that the Court declare the temporary rule unlawful and reminds the Court that it has inherent power to hold the State in contempt for not complying with the basic terms of its order.
“When I saw the temporary emergency rule, my heart dropped,” said Amelia Marquez. “As a soon-to-be social studies educator, I explain to the students that we live in a society of checks and balances. To see a state agency disregard another branch of government's legal order felt disappointing to say the least. I would like to see our state do better and protect me and other Montanans’ rights rather than continuing to fight to trample on them.”
“Rather than comply, the State is actively seeking ways to circumvent returning to the 2017 rules which are uncomplicated,” said Akilah Lane ACLU of Montana staff attorney. “From 2017 until last year, the State provided a process for individuals to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates. The State’s willful refusal to comply with the Order only serves to hurt transgender Montanans. And it demonstrates that in fact the purpose of the law all along was to hurt transgender Montanans. Enough is enough. The Court Order could not be any clearer and the State should be held accountable for its refusal to comply.”