California Senate Passes Bill Allowing Third Gender Option on IDs

Annabel Scott | June 2, 2017 | 6:35pm EDT
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(Screenshot of California Family Council video)

( - California lawmakers voted to pass a bill Wednesday that will add a third gender option - non-binary - on state identification cards. 

Senate Bill 179, introduced by Sen. Tori Atkins, will now move onto Assembly after the 26-12 Senate vote. If it passes Assembly, California Gov. Jerry Brown can sign the measure into law, making California the first state to add a third gender option on IDs.

In addition to changing the gender selection on driver’s licenses, the bill would also allow three options for birth certificates, identity cards and gender change court orders.

The bill, if signed into law, will allow minors to apply for a gender change on their birth certificates with parental or guardian consent.

Atkins applauded her fellow senators for passing the bill, saying their vote showed bravery.

“Most of us use our I.D. on a daily basis and take it for granted,” Atkins said in a statement. “SB 179 will make what should be a simple task much easier for our transgender and non-binary neighbors.”

The bill, although celebrated by many California lawmakers, has its fair share of opposition.

The California Family Council, a conservative religious group, has openly opposed the bill.

“If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie,” California Family Council spokesperson Greg Burt said during testimony to the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee in April. “As state senators, I know you think you are powerful, but you do not have the authority to simply change the meaning of words just because you want to.”

Atkins also penned a bill similar to SB 179 that passed through the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 310, if signed into law after passing through assembly, guarantees prison inmates the right to ask the court for gender change or name change. In addition, the bill states that if a name or gender change is granted to an inmate, then correction officers must refer to a prisoner by their new alias.

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