Montana Judge Tosses Sex Definition Law Due to Unclear Purpose


In a ruling that has sparked controversy, a Montana judge has deemed the state’s law defining sex as only male or female to be unconstitutional. The legislation was filed last year and aimed to provide a clear definition of the term “sex” when referring to a human. However, District Court Judge Shane Vannatta struck down the law, citing its unclear title and the failure to include the words “female” and “male” in the bill’s body.

According to Vannatta’s decision, the title of the bill does not give adequate notice of the character of the legislation, leading to the possibility of deceptive or misleading titles. The judge did not rule on the lawsuit’s claims that the law denied legal protections to transgender and nonbinary individuals.

The law was sponsored by Sen. Carl Glimm (R-MT) in response to a 2022 court ruling that allowed transgender people to change the gender listed on their birth certificates. The bill looked to provide a common definition for the word “sex” when referring to a human, sparking debate over the state’s understanding of gender.

The governor’s office has stood by the law, with spokesman Sedan Southard stating that the administration believes words have meaning and that this judgment is a reflection of the need for dictionary guidance. The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, on the other hand, celebrated the ruling, citing the Montana Constitution’s safeguards on legislative enactments.

Elaine Mallon
Elaine Mallon
Breaking news reporter.

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