AG Curtis Hill stalls proposed BMV rule allowing gender change on IDs

The exterior of the Indiana BMV license branch at 1400 Madison Ave. in Indianapolis, seen here Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (WTHR Photo/Russ Govert)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Attorney General Curtis Hill is stalling a proposed rule from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that would establish a procedure to modify a person's gender on their driver's license or ID.

The move also jeopardizes a plan by the Indiana State Department of Health to allow Hoosiers to change their gender on a birth certificate with just a physician's statement.

The proposed BMV rule was moving through the administrative rulemaking process and was supposed to become effective in October.

AG Hill declined to sign off on the rule based on “their perception that public notice wasn't sufficient,” BMV spokeswoman Susan Guyer said.

The proposed rule says either a birth certificate or a special Indiana State Department of Health form is needed to change gender on licenses and IDs. It is similar to the policy that exists now but it will be a health department form instead of the motor vehicle agency form.

“The BMV is not in the medical field,” BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy said. “It makes more sense that the doctor's note be a state department of health form and that the state department of health would administer the physician portion.”

Lacy says the BMV has been changing a small number of genders using a doctor's statement since 2009. But this year, the agency was ordered by a court in two cases to offer a non-binary "X" option as well.

When that became known, several amendments were filed in the Indiana House to prohibit the use of a physician's note to change genders. That would have made a certified amended birth certificate the only option.

The status of that policy shift is at a stand-still as AG Hill and the BMV work to make changes to the rule, which the agency has now recalled.

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