OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order this week to stop the Oklahoma State Department of Health from issuing birth certificates that list a person’s gender as nonbinary, which means the person does not identify with traditional male or female assignments.
The move stems from a federal lawsuit in 2020 when OSDH officials told someone they couldn’t change their sex on their birth certificate to nonbinary. The suit would eventually be settled, allowing it to be changed with a court order from an Oklahoma court. However, the governor issues the executive order bringing that to a halt.
“It’s certainly frustrating for us,” said Nicole McAfee, the executive director for Freedom Oklahoma. “We fundamentally believe that it has always been a question not of if people have the right to an “x” gender marker, but rather one of process.”
The entire executive order can be read below this article. McAfee said she and others in their organization have issues with the move.
“This executive order seems like a real issue of trying to supersede separation of powers and the court, especially here,” McAfee said.
About a month ago, KFOR told you the story about Kit Lorelied, who uses the pronouns they/them/their. Lorelied filed a lawsuit against the Health Department after they told Lorelied they couldn’t change the sex on their birth certificate to nonbinary. The lawsuit would eventually be settled, with Health Department officials saying they would change their practices.
Stitt, however, said in the order that the department entered into the agreement, which was “…not reviewed or approved by my administration.”
“His administration is willing to throw the most marginalized members of our state under the bus,” McAfee said.
Stitt continued in the order by citing Oklahoma law. He said the statute doesn’t allow the department to alter a person’s sex or gender on a birth certificate. Meanwhile, the ACLU of Oklahoma responded in a tweet saying in part that “all of us need accurate and consistent identity documents that reflect our authentic and true selves.”
OSDH also issued a statement of their own, which can be read in full below:
“The Oklahoma State Department of Health stands committed to serving the citizens of Oklahoma in maintaining the integrity of vital records. Pursuant to Governor Stitt’s Executive Order, OSDH will continue to amend birth certificates as allowed by law. These amendments will include legal change of name or corrections of errors. OSDH will work with the Governor and Attorney General on any orders for amendments that may fall outside the scope of 63 O.S. 1-321. OSDH will continue to uphold its mandate in the area of vital statistics within the authority granted by the Oklahoma Legislature.”OKLAHOMA STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
“This sends a message that the governor does not understand anything about the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” McAfee said.