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Indiana Republican introduces bill that would erase transgender people and deny marriage equality

Author: Trudy Ring

A Republican legislator in Indiana wants to define gender in state law as the “biological sex” assigned at birth, effectively erasing transgender and nonbinary people, and deny recognition to same-sex marriages.

Rep. Chris Judy’s House Bill 1291, introduced for consideration in this year’s session of the Indiana legislature, would amend state statutes to replace the term “gender” with “biological sex,” based on a person’s sex assigned at birth and reproductive capabilities.

“‘Sex’ means the biological, genetic identity of a person as either male or female,” the bill reads. “This term does not include gender identity or any other term that conveys a person’s subjective identification of a term other than male or female.”

This would affect discrimination cases, driver’s licenses and other official documents, state data collection, and more. Indiana law doesn’t ban anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that federal law against sex discrimination in employment applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill also would replace “gender” with “biological sex” in the state’s marriage law, so it would read, “A marriage between persons of the same biological sex is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized.”

Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage is still on the books, even though it has not been enforced since 2014, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit voided it and the Supreme Court let that ruling stand. The following year, the Supreme Court struck down all remaining state laws denying marriage equality.

In 2022, the federal government adopted the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect marriage equality if the Supreme Court ever reverses itself. States would not have to allow same-sex marriages, but they would still have to recognize those performed in other states. Indiana U.S. Sen. Todd Young was one of only 12 Republican senators who voted for it.

It’s uncertain if Judy’s bill will go anywhere; it has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Last year, Montana passed a law defining sex as binary and determined by reproductive capacity. It affects more than 40 sections of state law. And Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, issued an executive order requiring state agencies to use definitions of men and women according to the gender they were assigned at birth.

There have been proposals to deny marriage equality in some states, including Iowa and Tennessee, but none of them have succeeded.

Pictured: Indiana Rep. Chris Judy

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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