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Kansas attorney general says IDs must reflect one's birth sex

Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas, has asked a federal court to allow his state to mandate that all driver's licenses and birth certificates in the state identify their holder's sex at birth. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas, has asked a federal court to allow his state to mandate that all driver's licenses and birth certificates in the state identify their holder's sex at birth. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- As a controversial anti-transgender law is to go in effect later this week, Kansas' Republican attorney general has issued legal guidance requiring all driver's licenses and birth certificates in the state to reflect the biological sex at birth of those they are issued to.

Attorney General Kris Kobach issued the formal opinion Monday concerning Senate Bill 180, the so called Women's Bill of Rights, which is to go into effect Saturday defining sex as either male or female, with no exceptions.

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In his formal opinion, Kobach states S.B. 180 directs departments to ensure the sex listed on driver's licenses and birth certificates reflect the biological sex at birth of those they were issued to and to reverse changes they have previously made to such documents to accommodate transgender Kansans.

"State records must be accurate and reflect the truth as defined in state law," Kobach said in a statement.

"A birth certificate is a record of what happened at the moment a baby came out of the womb. Similarly, a driver's license is a state document reflecting a state database for state purposes," he continued. "It is not a canvas on which a person can paint one's expression and preferences."

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Kobach made the announcement after he filed a motion with a federal court late Friday asking it for permission to ignore a 2019 court order directing Kansas to allow the gender markers on birth certificates to reflect the gender identity of transgender people.

The moves by Kobach have attracted condemnation from civil rights advocates who state that his guidance issued Monday is little more than wishful thinking as S.B. 180 lacks an enforcement mechanism and his ask of the court to overlook the federal court order an attempt to weaponize his office to attack transgender Kansans.

"As he has done so many times in the past, Mr. Kobach was more than willing to rush in and impose his own stamp of extremism in an attempt to allow the state to deny Kansans their basic constitutional rights," Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said in a statement Monday.

"But should he decide to go further in an attempt to enforce his interpretation, the ACLU of Kansas remains ready to respond with the full force of our community and our legal team."

S.B. 180 was passed by the state's legislature earlier this year but was quashed by Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, on April 24 with a veto -- which legislature then overrode.

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The rule has come under criticism over its lack of an enforcement mechanism, with civil rights advocates stating it is unclear how the rule will be applied.

Kubic said S.B. 180 does not require any of the measures Kobach listed on Monday and the departments he directed, specifically the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Department of Revenue, are outside of his control.

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