Monday, November 15, 2021

Gov. Stitt issues executive order halting rogue "nonbinary" birth certificates

Late last month I posted about the wOKe Health Department adding a new process to obtain "non-binary" birth certificates. Governor Stitt and GOP legislative leaders strongly condemned the move, and later the House GOP leadership said that the Health Department failed to follow the law in instituting the new process.

Last week, Governor Stitt issued Executive Order 2021-24 to address the situation.

In the order, Stitt said, "It has come to my attention that the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has entered into a settlement agreement which was not reviewed or approved by my Administration. This settlement requires OSDH to amend birth certificates in a manner not permitted under Oklahoma Law. This Order ensures that this unauthorized action will be corrected."

"63 O.S. § 1-321 establishes how and when a birth certificate may be amended under Oklahoma Law. Neither this statute nor Oklahoma law otherwise provide OSDH or others any legal ability to in any way alter a person's sex or gender on a birth certificate. Moreover, neither this statute, nor OSDH's administrative rules, give the agency authority to enter agreements that circumvent the laws of this state," Stitt further noted.

Stitt's executive order requires the Health Department to do the following:

  • Cease amending birth certificates that is in any way inconsistent with 63 O.S. § 1-321.
  • Remove from its website any reference to amending birth certificates that is inconsistent with its authority under 63 O.S. § 1-321.
  • Inform the Governor's office of any pending litigation that is related to amending birth certificates in Oklahoma.
  • Provide the Governor's office with any other information that OSDH feels is responsive to this Executive Order. 

Stitt passed along two recommendations to the State Legislature for the upcoming regular session in February:

"I also encourage our lawmakers, upon reconvening for the 2nd Regular Session of the 58th Legislature this coming February to: 
  1. Immediately pass legislation that will clarify, to the extent necessary, that changes in sex or gender on a birth certificate or a designation of non-binary is contrary to Oklahoma Law. 
  2. Include in the legislation a provision that requires the Commissioner of Health to promulgate any administrative rules necessary to effectuate the purposes of this statute."


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