Montana officials said on Monday that the health department would follow the judge’s ruling and temporarily allow trans people to update their gender tags on their birth certificate – just days after announcing that they would be disregarding the judge’s order.

District Court Judge Michael Moses said on Monday that state health officials had “calculated breaches” of an order he issued late last week when he announced his decision to reject it.

On Thursday, Moses explained the draft order it issued in April ruling that Montana could not prevent transgender people from updating their birth certificates, while Senate Act 280 was challenged in court – but government officials said they would not comply with the order.

On Monday morning, in a scathing rebuke, Moses said he would consider claims for contempt after several violations of his April injunction.

Government officials have engaged “in unnecessary legal gymnastics to try to rationalize their actions and calculated violations of the order,” Moses wrote on Monday, calling the interpretation of the state of his earlier warrant “clearly ridiculous.”

Last week, Charlie Brereton, director of the state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services, said that “the department carefully assessed the judge’s vague decision in April 2022 and made our final rule to be in line with the decision. It is a pity that today’s judge’s ruling does not agree with his vague decision in April ”.

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Hours after the judge issued his order on Monday, the Montana DPHHS issued a statement saying that it would nonetheless follow the judge’s order.

“The department has received a court order explaining the preliminary order and intends to comply with the terms despite disagreement,” department spokesman Jon Ebelt said in a statement.

“The Department maintains its work and analysis on the April 2022 Court Order’s Initial Decision as set out in the drafting legislation that addressed critical regulatory gaps left by the court. As the Department has now received court explanations, it is carefully considering the next steps in the dispute, ”Ebelt added.

“It is unfortunate that it took two very clear court orders and many months to comply with the law,” Alex Rate, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana told Associated Press.

“But from the perspective of transgender Montanans looking to obtain accurate identification papers, today’s announcement is certainly progress,” Rate added.

The ACLU and its Montana subsidiary represent two trans people looking to change the gender tag on their Montana birth certificates.

With News Wire services

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