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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Civil rights advocates file suit over MT birth certificate mandate

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024   

The Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed class-action lawsuit challenging a measure barring people from listing a gender on their birth certificate other than the one they were born with.

Montana lawmakers passed Senate Bill 280 in 2021, which requires a court order to change gender on a birth certificate. A state court issued an injunction against the measure but now the state health department has put a total ban on changes to sex designations on birth certificates.

Akilah Deernose, executive director of the ACLU of Montana, called the measure part of a "concerted and unrelenting attack" on the civil rights of people who identify as transgender.

"We've previously sued on the birth certificate issue," Deernose pointed out. "Once again, we're seeing the state implement laws and rules and policies that unfairly target transgender people."

On the other side, some people argued birth certificates contain vital statistics and should be based on the facts at the time of birth. The suit awaits action in state court.

Deernose noted beyond privacy rights, the birth certificate measure has the potential to force a person to declare themselves to be someone other than who they are, based on their declared identity.

"And who they know themselves to be," Deernose observed. "That puts them at risk of discrimination and also forces them to out themselves every time they share those identity documents."

The suit also challenges a motor vehicle department policy forbidding changing sex designations on driver's licenses.


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