Liberal group files suit to challenge law defining the word ‘sex’ as only male or female

The ACLU of Montana, a liberal advocacy group, has initiated a lawsuit contesting a law that specifically defines the term “sex” in the entirety of state code as being either male or female, determined by an individual’s biological status at birth. The plaintiffs contend that this law unjustly withholds legal acknowledgment and safeguards from individuals who identify as gender non-conforming.

The group of plaintiffs comprises a transgender man, a Two-Spirit Native American, a nonbinary individual, an intersex person, and a nurse practitioner. They have submitted a motion for summary judgment in their filing in a state court in Missoula, seeking a declaration of the law’s unconstitutionality.
The legislator behind the bill argued that its necessity stemmed from the need to legally distinguish between the terms “sex” and “gender,” emphasizing that they are not interchangeable. This rationale was a response to a 2021 ruling by a state judge, which overturned a law mandating a surgical procedure before individuals could update the gender on their birth certificates. The judge deemed the law vague as it lacked a clear definition of the required surgery, asserting that transgender individuals should have the ability to modify their gender designation on official documents.
Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office has said the law “reflects scientific reality,” provides “objective definitions of terms used widely in Montana law,” and is meant to protect victims of sexual assault, the safety of females in sports and ensure the separation of prison populations by sex for safety.”
In its lawsuit, the ACLU contends that the definitions of “male” and “female” in Montana’s law are “scientifically imprecise and erroneous.”