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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill to define sex passes Legislature

A bill to define sex in state laws as binary and immutable has passed the Montana Legislature.

Senate Bill 458 would eliminate legal recognition of transgender, nonbinary and intersex Montanans across 40 sections of state code. For example, it would bar them from being able to choose the gender marker on their birth certificate or driver's license.

The Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill’s definition of sex is inaccurate and not inclusive of people with chromosomal variations or diverse gender identity.

Republican supporters of the bill say they don’t want sex and gender to be conflated in law, and that the definition will provide consistency.

Opponents to the bill say it’s discriminatory against gender diverse Montanans, will force them to out themselves in public spaces and could be costly. Nonpartisan legislative fiscal analysts released a report showing that the bill could cost the state up to $7 billion in federal dollars for violating anti-discrimination statutes.

Governor Greg Gianforte has not said whether he’ll sign the bill.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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