Politics

AG Phil Weiser backs Coloradan fighting for gender-neutral passport


Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has thrown his legal weight behind an intersex Fort Collins resident as debate over a gender-neutral passport reaches the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Weiser joined the Democratic attorneys general of eight other states Wednesday in writing to the 10th Circuit, telling the court that their states have easily provided non-binary IDs and therefore the federal government should do so as well.

Dana Zzyym, who identifies as non-binary rather than male or female, requested in 2014 that an X be used in place of male or female on their passport, but the State Department denied the request.

Zzyym filed a lawsuit and in September a federal judge in Colorado sided with Zzyym. U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson, a President Barack Obama appointee, ruled the State Department’s gender policy for passport applications was arbitrary and capricious.

“Dana has been pursuing a passport for close to four years now,” the judge wrote. “I grant Dana’s request for injunctive relief and enjoin the (State) Department from relying upon its binary-only gender marker policy to withhold the requested passport from Dana.”

The State Department appealed that ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. It called Jackson’s decision “extraordinary” and asked the appeals court to delay enforcement of his ruling while it considers the case. On April 3, the 10th Circuit declined to delay enforcement of the ruling.

“If there is no pending passport application, then the State Department is not required to do anything and the district court’s order enjoining the State Department from relying on its binary-only gender marker policy to withhold a passport from Zzyym has no current effect,” it ruled.

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The 10th Circuit will now consider the case and whether to overturn Jackson’s ruling. Weiser is asking the appeals court to uphold the district judge’s decision and force the State Department to change its passport policy.

“The federal government needs to catch up with the states that are leading the way when it comes to equality,” Wesier said in a statement Wednesday. “All Americans should be able to obtain a passport that accurately reflects their gender.”

The State Department says its current policy ensures the integrity of passport data, aiding law enforcement and government agencies that rely upon such information. It says Jackson’s ruling leaves it with two undesirable options: spend $11 million and two years updating its information systems, or issue a unique passport “that could harm U.S. foreign policy and national security.”

Coloradans who do not identify as male or female can choose X to …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics

      

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