Family Policy Alliance of Idaho Responds to Lawsuit Over Just-Signed Vital Statistics Act

April 17

April 17, 2020



Family Policy Alliance of Idaho Responds to Lawsuit Over Just-Signed Vital Statistics Act

The law is supported by the government’s compelling interest in maintaining the accuracy of vital statistics including date of birth, sex, or the parents’ identities


BOISE, Idaho – Yesterday, Lamdba Legal filed a motion in Idaho’s U.S. District Court asking the court to invalidate the recently signed Vital Statistics Act. The Act, which passed both Idaho legislative chambers with a veto-proof supermajority, ensures the accuracy and integrity of vital records, specifically birth certificates, by preventing after-the-fact changes to them.

Blaine Conzatti, Director of Advocacy for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, responded to the motion: “It is critical for the court to maintain the integrity of our records by upholding this law. Birth certificates contain important biographical and medical information including the date and location of birth, weight and length of the infant, the infant’s sex, and his or her parents’ identities. Changing that information means rewriting history.”

Lambda filed its motion as a clarification to a 2018 court order that overturned Idaho Department of Health and Welfare policy preventing individuals from changing their sex marker on birth certificates. The judge’s decision rested significantly on the fact that Idaho’s Attorney General refused to defend the rule. Lambda’s new motion enjoins the new law solely on the 2018 unappealed district court decision.  However, the law is materially and substantively different from the unpublished administrative rule which the original court order addressed. Materially, the new law is a widely-supported statute passed through Idaho’s legislative system with its checks and balances – a stark contrast to agency policy. Substantively, the law protects quantitative material facts at the time of birth contained in a birth certificate, while the former rule pertained only to the sex marker on the record.

Family Policy Alliance of Idaho noted that while the law specifies that an individual cannot change the sex marker on their birth certificate, Lambda has inaccurately and misleadingly claimed the law prevents an individual from changing the gender marker. “There is no ‘gender’ marker on birth certificates,” said Conzatti. “There is only a ‘sex’ marker. That is important because sex has a biological definition and is rooted in scientific facts about a person’s X and Y chromosomes. Gender, as Lambda uses that term, is rooted in a person’s feelings. But we don’t base – and change – our vital records over a person’s feelings: we root them in scientific fact.” Birth certificates in particular capture critical biological information about a person at a specific point in time. To change that information after-the-fact would be to rewrite history and harm the integrity of our statistics and medical information.

The Act itself notes that the law is based on the government’s compelling interest in “maintaining accurate, quantitative, biology-based material facts [on birth certificates] … that provide material facts fundamental to the performance of government functions … including … identifying public health trends, assessing risks, conducting criminal investigations, and helping individuals determine their biological lineage, citizenship, or susceptibility to genetic disorders.”

“We need accurate state vital records for law enforcement, criminal justice, and public health officials to do their jobs well,” added Conzatti. “We hope the Court will make the prudent decision for Idaho, and ensure the accuracy of our records for generations to come.”

Media Contact:

Robert Noland, (719) 308-2822,


Family Policy Alliance of Idaho is a public policy partner of Focus on the Family, and part of a vibrant national alliance of pro-family state groups. As a Christ-centered organization, our vision is a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.