The New Hampshire House is considering a bill to allow individuals to obtain a new birth certificate based on a change of “gender identity.” Options on the birth certificate would be “male,” “female,” and “nonbinary.” HB 446 will have a hearing in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Cornerstone Action opposes this threat to the integrity of public records, and we recommend that committee members vote “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) on HB 446. From Cornerstone’s legislative testimony on the bill:
“For hundreds of years, our society has deemed it important to collect accurate factual information regarding certain vital statistics of its citizenry. Among these facts are locations of birth, dates of birth and death, and sex. The current effort to rewrite our laws to replace sex with gender identity does not change the government’s need for accurate information. We can show tolerance and respect for those identify as a different gender while still maintaining factual data that helps our government identify and solve health and safety threats.”
You can send a brief, courteous message to the committee at HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us to urge NO on HB 446. The committee hearing on the bill is January 17; the date of the committee vote has not yet been determined.
We invite voters and elected officials alike to keep these points in mind:
- The purpose of vital records is to maintain an accurate database of factual information regarding births, deaths, and other vital events in a given jurisdiction. HB 446 would replace one piece of factual information – sex, as male or female – and replace it with subjective information known as “gender identity.”
- HB 446 adds “nonbinary” as an option to “male” or “female” as the description of the sex of a person. It would replace factual information with a person’s subjective feeling.
- HB 446 calls for certification of a person’s feeling by a “licensed and qualified health care provider.”It does not call for affirmation or recognition of a person’s sex at birth as attested to by someone attending the birth.
- The purpose of vital records is not to affirm one’s inner feelings or beliefs regarding one’s own age, sex, or place of birth.
- Public health is compromised when vital records are tampered with. For example, vital records provide information that helps public health authorities learn about differences in life expectancy between men and women. Altering birth certificates would undermine the accuracy and effectiveness of any public health program aimed at mitigating those differences.
- Facts, unlike political decisions or personal opinions, don’t discriminate. Birth certificates, death certificates, and other vital records are intended to document facts.
Defending the integrity of New Hampshire’s vital records means rejecting HB 446.