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Kansas AG Kobach moves ahead in transgender driver’s license suit

  • Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, a Republican, is leading a legal effort to prevent gender reassignment from being listed on state driver’s licenses.
  • Five transgender Kansans, represented by the state’s ACLU chapter, filed to intervene in the lawsuit. Kobach opposed the motion.
  • “It’s a pretty cut and dry case,” Kobach told reporters.

The Republican attorney general in Kansas is working to prevent transgender people from intervening in a state court case against changing the sex listings on their state driver’s licenses. His efforts will already prevent further changes until at least November.

Attorney General Kris Kobach, his legal team and lawyers for the Kansas Department of Revenue were in court Thursday to schedule the trial. The department’s motor vehicle division issues driver’s licenses and has changed the sex lists of more than 900 people over the past four years.

Kobach argues that changing driver’s licenses to reflect transgender people’s gender identity violates a state law that took effect July 1 and rolled back transgender rights. He fired two top Revenue Department officials earlier this month after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced that the changes would continue despite the new state law.

Kansas Trans residents who ran to change their driver’s licenses became a ‘safety concern,’ judge says

Five transgender Kansas residents represented by the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter are asking District Judge Teresa Watson to allow them to intervene in the case. Kobach said Thursday that he opposes his request, and Watson plans to rule on it after an Aug. 16 hearing.

Earlier this month, Watson granted Kobach’s request to block driver’s license changes while his case proceeds. Kobach’s office and attorneys for the Revenue Department both agreed that he should stay until at least one more hearing, now set for Nov. 1.

During Thursday’s hearing in Shawnee County, in the state capital of Topeka, Kobach unsuccessfully pressed Watson to move forward with a full trial early next month.

“It’s a pretty cut and dry case,” Kobach told reporters. “The law means what it says. They have a different interpretation of the law.”

Because of Kobach’s lawsuit, Kansas is among the few states that do not allow transgender residents to change their driver’s licenses, along with Montana, Oklahoma and Tennessee. In a separate federal court case, Kobach is also trying to block changes to the gender listings on Kansas birth certificates.

The new Kansas law defines male and female based on a person’s sex assigned at birth and says those definitions apply to any other state law or regulation, eliminating legal recognition of transgender people’s gender identity. Kobach says he needs Kansas to undo past changes to his record. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law over Kelly’s veto.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, a Republican, speaks to reporters after hearing his state court case, which aims to prevent transgender people from changing the gender listed on their driver’s licenses. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

ACLU attorneys argue that the new law violates transgender people’s rights under the Kansas Constitution, including their rights to privacy and bodily autonomy.

“When we’re trying to do this about something as simple as legal interpretation, what we’re doing is ignoring the reality that transgender Kansans will face every single day in this state,” Sharon Brett, ACLU of Kansas legal director, said after the hearing.

In interviews, transgender Kansas residents have said that having a driver’s license with a sex listing that doesn’t match their gender identity creates complications getting through airport security, dealing with a traffic stop or even using a credit card. They have also said that interactions with others about them being public as transgender — and potentially putting their safety at risk.

In court filings, Kansas City-area resident Kathryn Redman, 62, said she was subjected to “disgusting patdowns in the genital area of ​​my body” before boarding flights, before she renewed her Kansas driver’s license in 2021.

“I often received rude comments and was always uncomfortable in public settings where I had to show my license,” she said.

Federal judge considers Kansas governor’s arguments on transfer birth certificate issue

Kobach said after Thursday’s hearing that legal claims by transgender people are premature because Watson has not ruled on whether the driver’s license change violates the new state law. He said he sees the first task as considering the meaning of the new law.

He said that there will be enough time to consider the constitutional questions.

Lawyers for the Revenue Department have argued that the new law conflicts with an old law that specifically deals with driver’s licenses and that the agency is bound to follow the old law. The department supports allowing transgender people to intervene in the matter.

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“We are not in a position as the Revenue Department to adequately address these concerns,” said one of the lawyers, Pedro Arrigonegare, after Thursday’s hearing.

Source by [Fox News]



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