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Birth certificate bill clears committee

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017

* From the ACLU…

House Bill 1785, sponsored by Representative Greg Harris, this morning cleared the House Human Services Committee by a vote of 7 to 4. The bill would update and modernize a more than half-century old rule by eliminating an antiquated surgical requirement that prevents countless transgender and intersex Illinoisans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificate to match their gender and the gender marker on their other state and federal identification documents. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote.

The following can be attributed to John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBT and HIV Project:

    The Committee today took an important step to protect people in Illinois who are transgender or intersex. No one should face the dilemma of being denied a birth certificate that conforms with their gender simply because they are unable – or cannot afford – to undergo surgery that the medical community agrees is not necessary for everyone who transitions.

    Illinois should join the federal government, thirteen other states, and the District of Columbia in allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without surgery. People who are transgender and intersex should make their own medical decisions with the guidance of medical health professionals—not politicians. We thank Representative Greg Harris for his leadership, and we hope the House acts quickly to pass this bill and send it to the Senate.

The legislation is here.

* From the Illinois Family Institute’s David E. Smith…

This morning, the Illinois House Human Services Committee held a hearing on a highly controversial proposal that would legalize fraud through the alteration of birth certificates by gender-dysphoric persons who wish to have the government reinforce their deceit.

The bill passed on a party line vote, 7 Democrats voted yea, while 5 Republicans voted no.

State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who represents Chicago’s gay community known as Boys Town, is one of three openly homosexual members of the Illinois General Assembly and an LGBT activist, is once again pushing this deceit, as he did last session.

HB 1785 would amend the Vital Records Act to allow transgender Illinoisans to easily change their gender and name on their birth certificate. According to HB 1785, all that would be needed is for a licensed health care worker or mental health professional to issue a declaration that the gender dysphoric person has undergone “gender transition treatment,” which doesn’t necessarily include surgery.

Take ACTION: Click HERE to send an email message to your state representative to ask him/her to reject HB 1785 and uphold birth certificates as legal documents. The state of Illinois has no duty or right to make it easier for men and women who wish they were the opposite sex to falsify their birth certificates. Ask your lawmaker to vote NO to the Birth Certificate Designation Act, HB 1785.

I just don’t understand how people can get so worked up about a relatively small bill like this. I mean, how, exactly, does it hurt you if somebody else changes their own birth certificate?

But, as Rep. Kelly Cassidy said at a press conference today, “There’s a lengthy pattern of punching down, if you will, looking for people who you perceive to be beneath you and aiming your attacks there.” She called transgender folks the “target du jour.”

And as Rep. Greg Harris said today at the same press conference, in a high-security era where all your various documents need to match up and your documents need to match your appearance at, say, airport security checkpoints, the bill is actually needed.

* Related…

* End “panic defense” for attacks on gays in Illinois: Defendants in very recent trials have invoked panic defenses, including a 2011 California case involving the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy by a male classmate. Defense attorneys argued that the victim, Larry King, provoked his death because he asked his killer to be his Valentine. The jury was hung.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Liberty - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    No point in having sex on a birth certificate anymore.

  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    How many Republicans are on the committee? Was it 7-5, or 7-4?

  3. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    Rich -

    You do so understand. There is a tendency for people to want others behaviors to match their own moral and religious beliefs. If they can’t persuade other people to change their behavior, then they try to legislate it.

    It’s the same religious beliefs as those about same sex marriage, Alcohol sales or car sales on Sunday, planned parenthood, etc. Yet, these same people that want to dictate others’ behavior are extremely outspoken when another religion wants to dictate theirs.

  4. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    agreed rich, I don’t get the hostility. WHo cares what people do if it makes them happy and doesn’t affect you?

  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Geez, such outrage. Did David Smith have a personal experience with what he calls “deceit” or something?

    Or is he just trolling for money on an issue that’s truly none of his business and impacts him in no way?

  6. - MissingG - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    I know that the committee testimony of the IFI is “news”, but can we stop giving a platform to an organization that has been designated as a hate group by the SPLC?

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===but can we stop giving a platform===

    1) Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away.

    2) Get your own blog if you don’t like it.

  8. - Workin' - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    Unclear on the concept: “legalize fraud”? If we change the law, then it is no longer illegal.

  9. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    Take a breath Davey boy. First off, Harris represents the 13th District, not Chicago’s gay community. Second off, Chicago’s gay community is not known as Boys Town. Third off, Boys Town isn’t even in Harris’ District. Fourth off, your opinions demonstrate clearly that you are an ignoramus.

  10. - PJ - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    Classic IFI. Rude, homophobic, and blatantly pandering to hateful people. The justification that this is somehow about “falsifying” anything is comical. It’s about going after transgender people because they don’t like them.

  11. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    === The bill passed on a party line vote, 7 Democrats voted yea, while 5 Republicans voted no. ===

    Republicans are consistently on the wrong side of history. Most of them voted No on civil unions and same-sex marriage, as well as on medical marijuana.

  12. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    Birth Certificates - meh

    “Ending the Panic Defense” is an awful idea. Why is the legislature getting involved in the Courtroom like that. Defendants have the right to a defense and we shouldn’t be taking away their right to make arguments that, if backed by evidence, lead jurors to believe there is reasonable doubt. The onus is on prosecutors to combat bogus defenses, not the legislature.

  13. - Saluki - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    “pandering to hateful people.”

    A CBS news poll recently found that only 25% of Americans are on board with the Transgender movements push to allow people to use the bathroom of the gender they “identify” with. That’s alot of “hateful” people. You might consider that the I.F.I. is representing people with a different point of view. That does not make them hateful, regardless of what the SPLC might have the I.F.I. listed as in an excel spreadsheet.

  14. - Springfield Since '77 - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Birth Certificates are legal document and as such can and are used for legal reasons such as, unfortunately, identification of missing persons remains. Age, Gender (yes gender, not sex). If it doesn’t matter anymore, then I believe it should be removed, then there is no need for it to be changed…

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===If it doesn’t matter anymore===

    Who says it doesn’t matter?

    It’s like the people who wanted to get rid of marriage when gays wanted to get married. Ridic. Deal with it.

  16. - MissingG - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Another recent poll:
    “Just over half (53%) of the roughly 2,000 people interviewed for the survey in February said they oppose such measures, including roughly two-thirds of Democrats (65%) but just over one-third of Republicans (36%). In total, about 40% said they support such measures, with about one-in-ten saying they had no opinion on the subject.”

    But it’s important to note that whether an idea is popular or not is not a good measure of whether or not it’s hateful

  17. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    “I just don’t understand how people can get so worked up about a relatively small bill like this. I mean, how, exactly, does it hurt you if somebody else changes their own birth certificate?”

    When some folks give up on getting their own hopelessly flawed lives in order, they then dedicate themselves to minding other people’s business.

    – MrJM

  18. - A Jack - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    I am okay with the bill as long as they don’t rename Boy’s Town to Girl’s Town. I draw the line at buying a new map.

  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    Antiquated? Illinois was one of the first states in the USA to recognize transgender rights by permitting such persons to change their birth certificates and to apply for marriage licenses after surgery.

  20. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    Popular support for transexual rights is low today, just as it was for gay rights 20 years ago. It is only in the past year or so, however, that trans issues have come to the forefront of the news and popular consciousness. Is there anyone who thinks viewpoints on trans rights won’t change just as inexorably as opinions changed on marriage equality?

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:58 pm:

    An op-ed in the Sun-Times referenced the murder of Matthew Shepard in arguing for the repeal of the panic defense. Notably, the op-ed dealt with the murder as a homophobic hate crime while not mentioning the drug deal turned violent elements of the same crime.

  22. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:06 pm:

    Looks like you don’t do so well dealing with others legit opinions.

    Looks like you don’t do so well dealing with others deciding your opinion isn’t legit.

    (Can you now see the utter lameness of that type of response?)

    – MrJM

  23. - Gooner - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    OK, I’m pretty liberal on social issues, and although I don’t view this as a big deal, I do oppose it for two reasons.

    First, the birth certificate is an historical document. It reflects that at the time of birth, the person has a certain anatomy. Subsequently, it might change, but at that moment, that was the physical characteristic.

    Second, although I have a ton of respect for Rep. Harris, from a tactical perspective this really does not help. Too many moderates and conservatives view all Democrats as focusing on extremely narrow social issues. It really plays into the hands of the Republicans in swing districts. It takes away from the focus on Democrats fighting for jobs, etc. and replaces it with the perception that Democrats care about only certain narrow social issues.

    Again, I back Democrats on most social issues but this does not seem like sound policy or sound politics.

    For what it is worth, a better alternative would be to simply remove the line from the birth certificate. Why not just go with “A child was born on DATE to PARENTS at LOCATION and WEIGHED X.” That would seem to be both accurate and politically easier. It it more difficult for right wing groups to be outraged over the deletion of a line on birth certificate.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Is it a form of stereotyping that Representative Harris had to sponsor this bill? I feel the same way when a television new show assigns reporters based upon the location of a news story according to race.

  25. - A Jack - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    I don’t know about the panic defense though. Wouldn’t the reasonable person rule over come that defense in most of the cases cited?

  26. - Dan S - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    What about a budget??????????????????

  27. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:50 pm:


    When a child is adopted,( even if one of the parents is on the original birth certificate) a corrected birth certificate is issued. Often the birth name is changed too.

    I see your point, but a corrected birth certificate works for this instance too.

  28. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    “No point in having sex on a birth certificate anymore.”

    You’re doing it wrong.

    – MrJM

  29. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    “When a child is adopted,(even if one of the parents is on the original birth certificate) a corrected birth certificate is issued.”

    Yes and that sometimes has humorous consequences. My mother married my dad, a widower with 3 kids and then had three more. When my mother adopted the three older ones, the oldest of them was just 17 years younger than my mother, so the birth certificate substituted her name, and then her age and occupation at birth, which was 17 and then “Student” since she was still a high school student when he was born. Kind of funny.

  30. - BK Bro - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    If we take it off birth certificate, do we need to take it off of driver’s licenses too? Seems like it’s just easier altogether to just leave gender out completely.

  31. - Bill from nowhere - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 5:26 pm:

    Can’t pass a budget, can’t pay bills, millions impacted, people losing their jobs. But, they can take care of this? They play the lyre while illinois burns.

  32. - Rabid - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:54 am:

    Body modification and chemical therapy or lack of it is the pursuit of happiness to be born again

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