Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order on Nov. 8 prohibiting the state health department from amending and/or issuing birth certificates that assign the “non-binary” gender to people who identify as such.
Using an executive order, Stitt and his administration determined the non-existence of “non-binary” gender as a valid category for legally identifying individuals. In the document, Stitt asserts that it is “not permitted under Oklahoma law.”
Stitt told the state Department of Health to stop altering birth certificates in any way unauthorized by state law. At the same time, he ordered the department to remove any reference to altering birth certificates for non-binary people from its website, according to The Washington Times.
The Health Department began adding the nonbinary option following a settlement agreement in a civil case. A person named Kit Lorelied, identified as “nonbinary,” filed suit after the Health Department initially rejected a request to have such a designation on her birth certificate.
The Attorney General’s Office represented the department in the lawsuit, and both parties settled. Lorelied was issued the new birth certificate that same month, and the department agreed to add a non-binary option for the documents.
Stitt and other Republican leaders in the Legislature expressed outrage over the matter after learning of the decision. Such was the anger that Health Commissioner Lance Frye resigned the next day.
In previous statements, Stitt said that “there is no such thing” as a non-binary identity. He also added:
“I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period,” Stitt said in an October statement. “There is no such thing as non-binary sex and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”
Stitt, as well as ordering the cessation of non-binary designations on birth certificates, directed the Legislature to pass legislation when it returns next year to prohibit the issuance of birth certificates with non-binary designations.
As expected, the news did not go down well in leftist circles that advocate for the interests of LGBT sectors, and they have already announced that they will begin a legal battle to reverse the governor’s decision.
For its part, the Department of Health responded to the executive order with a statement saying it will comply with the governor’s order and is committed to serving Oklahoma.
“In accordance with the executive order, birth certificates will continue to be amended as permitted by law,” the department said, according to local media outlet KWTV.