Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Tuesday that explicitly prohibits nonbinary gender identification on a state birth certificate, the Associated Press reports. The law is the first in the nation of its kind.
Last fall, Stitt issued an executive order to stop the Oklahoma State Department of Health from issuing nonbinary birth certificates after the department allowed nonbinary options in a civil case: an Oklahoma-born Oregon resident sued when the agency originally refused their request. Republicans were outraged, prompting the executive order as well as the resignation of Stitt’s appointee to the agency. Last month, the executive order was challenged by attorneys for Lambda Legal, who sued on behalf of a transgender woman and two transgender men who live in the state. The state has not yet responded.
Lambda Legal told AP that while many states only offer male or female gender options, Oklahoma is the first to sign nonbinary prohibition into law. Only 15 states and the District of Columbia allow gender designations beyond male or female, per the National Center for Transgender Equality. On July 1, Vermont will become the 16th.
While the state’s and other Republicans have fought inclusionary legislative measures, Oklahoman voters elected Rep. Mauree Turner in Oct. 2020; the Oklahoma City Democrat is the country’s first openly nonbinary legislator.
Stitt was also among 11 Republican state leaders to have adopted laws that prohibit transgender girls from playing on female school sports teams. In April, Stitt furthered the GOP’s latest restrictive agenda when he signed a bill making it illegal to perform abortions in the state (and no exceptions for rape or incest), with perpetrators facing up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The new Oklahoma law comes at a time when the GOP continues its war on trans teens, with at least 38 anti-trans medical bans having been introduced in legislatures across the U.S. just this year.