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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Curtis Hill: BMV doesn't have authority to allow nonbinary gender on licenses

Attorney General Curtis HIll said the MBV doesn't have the authority to add a third gender option to state-issued 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) — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said the Bureau of Motor Vehicles doesn't have the authority to allow residents to choose any gender besides male or female on their driver's licenses.

Hill's official opinion on the matter comes after the BMV put the nonbinary gender option on hold in October, when it was initially supposed to go into effect. The BMV announced it was adding the gender-neutral "X" to state-issued IDs in March 2019. Anyone wishing to have the "X" on their ID would need to show a certified, amended birth certificate or a signed and dated doctor's statement show the change of gender.

On Monday, Hill said adding that option would require new legislation by the Indiana General Assembly.

"Under current state law, agencies have not been delegated the authority to offer a third non-binary gender option," Hill said.

Shortly after the BMV's original announcement, some lawmakers took measures to make getting the "X" more difficult. They amended a bill that removed the option of providing a doctor's statement.

In Monday's official opinion, Hill said, "The BMV lacks statutory authority to define gender; gender and sex are synonymous within the Indiana Code; the BMV does not have the authority to add a non-binary option to driver's licenses absent legislation."

Hill went on to say while the BMV has the authority to issue licenses and the Indiana State Department of Health has the authority to correct birth certificates, adding a third gender to state-issued IDs would overstep the scope of the agencies' authority.