Transgender Kansans intervene in lawsuit to block attorney general from denying changes

Anti-Trans image with the word trans with the transgender flag inset
Anti-Trans image by Ed Hahn

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Kansas and Stinson LLP  filed a motion on July 10 to intervene in a lawsuit between Attorney General Kris Kobach and the Kansas Department of Revenue. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five transgender Kansans who claim they will be irreparably harmed by an unconstitutional effort by Kobach to ban and reverse changes to the gender markers on their state driver’s licenses.

Sharon Brett, Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas said, “Mr. Kobach’s actions demonstrate a flagrant attempt to do an end-run around our state constitution.” 

Citing a new law passed by the Kansas state legislature over a veto by Governor Laura Kelly attempting to limit the rights of transgender people, Attorney General Kobach filed a lawsuit in state court on July 7 against the government agency that issues driver’s licenses. He asked the court to prohibit transgender people from changing their gender markers on their driver’s licenses.

Judge Teresa Watson granted a temporary restraining order early Monday morning before the state could respond, which has blocked the Kelly administration from allowing gender marking changes while the case goes forward.

“Mr. Kobach is choosing to focus the power of the attorney general’s office on, of all things, attacking and discriminating against transgender Kansans. It is insulting to all Kansans that Mr. Kobach and other extremists who propped up SB 180 claim to be helping women, when they have made no efforts to meaningfully do so. Instead, they have weaponized women’s rights in a way that actually re-entrenches the oppressive gender stereotypes that hurt all of us,” Brett said.  “Our clients deserve to live their lives free of harassment, discrimination, and violence — all consequences that Mr. Kobach’s erroneous legal interpretations are designed to encourage.”

The motion to intervene was formally docketed on July 12. The intervenors also intended, according to the ACLU, to file a motion to oppose the preliminary injunction requested by Kobach and support the Kansas Department of Revenue’s motion to dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge Watson. 

“The so-called ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ is a blatant effort to control and stigmatize transgender residents of the state,” Ria Tabacco Mar, Director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project said. “Limiting freedom for trans people worsens conditions for all women by re-entrenching the very gender stereotypes that have underpinned centuries of women’s oppression. We will continue to fight for everyone in Kansas to live fully and authentically.”