Transgender bills will not be heard in the Utah State Legislature this year

Posted at 12:28 PM, Feb 14, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY -- A pair of bills dealing with transgender issues will not be heard this year in the Utah State Legislature.

In a joint statement, Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, announced they "have agreed to hold the bills and refer them and related issues to interim study." Sending a bill to interim means it is dead this year.

Rep. Nelson's bill would have defined "male" and "female" and prohibited people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificate. LGBTQ rights groups were gearing up to fight the bill. The day before the hearing, he amended the bill to remove the gender definitions and allow driver licenses to be modified, but refused to budge on birth certificates.

On Thursday, the bill was pulled from the House Health & Human Services Committee agenda. Then it was dropped altogether.

"The community’s been very worried about it because it’s quite frankly anti-transgender in that it makes sex on a birth certificate unchangeable and that is a core legal intervention we count on in updating our identity documents throughout the community. We need that to be able to move on in our life," said Sue Robbins of the group Transgender Education Advocates.

Sen. Weiler's bill was more friendly to LGBTQ groups. He wanted to create a process by which someone could change their gender.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Sen. Weiler said he agreed to hold off on his bill, but warned that the state must create a policy for transgender people to change their gender markers.

Right now, a case is pending before the Utah Supreme Court on the issue. Two people had judges deny their gender marker changes, while others have had no problems in the state court system.