Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill Friday requiring a person to have gender reassignment surgery before changing the sex marker on their birth certificate, despite outcry from opponents who say it targets already marginalised transgender people in Montana.
Republican bill sponsor Senator Carl Glimm argued earlier this year that the State Health Department overstepped its authority in changing the designation on a birth certificate from sex to gender and then in setting rules for how it could be changed. He said birth certificates contain vital statistics and should be based on the facts at the time of birth.
Opponents of the measure said that less than half of transgender people undergo surgery. They want one simple thing, on a piece of paper they want a letter to change, Democratic Senator Bryce Bennett said during a hearing on the bill.
The Republican-controlled Legislature also passed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from playing according to the gender with which they identify in school and college sports. Similar bills have been signed in several Republican-controlled states this year, including Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and West Virginia.