Indiana House amends bill to make driver's license gender changes harder

Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 10:18:52-04

Correction: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified the city of Sen. J.D. Ford. RTV regrets the error.

INDIANAPOLIS — A week after the Indiana BMV changed its policy to allow people to put an X for their gender on driver’s licenses, a House committee changed a bill to mark it harder for Hoosiers to do exactly that.

The BMV changes mean you can mark M, F or X. The third option was created for people who don’t identify as male or female.

If you want to change your gender on your driver’s license, you need a doctor’s note or an updated birth certificate.

House Republicans voted Wednesday to amend Senate Bill 182 to remove the doctor’s note option for changing your information at the BMV.

This means you would need an updated birth certificate if the bill becomes law. To update your birth certificate, you need a court order, a photo ID with a mailing address and a check for the applicable fees.

SB 182 was initially introduced by Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary. It would allow Hoosiers to have a digital version of their driver’s license on their phones.

“This amendment was offered at the last second with little notice for the General Assembly and the public to weigh in,” Melton said in a statement. “I will fight to prevent this bill from becoming a piece of legislation that devalues someone.”

Other opponents to the changes say it will add unnecessary hurdles and is a targeted attack against transgender Hoosiers.

"If you don't want it, then you don't have to have the X on your driver's license if it doesn't pertain to you,” Sen. J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis, said. “This, to me, is really just stirring up the pot for no reason."

The amendment was introduced by Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville. She released a statement on the changes:

Under the amended bill, a person who wants to change their gender on their state-issued ID or driver’s license can still do so but would need to provide their amended birth certificate instead of just a doctor’s note at the BMV. Whether it’s an ID or a driver’s license, these legal documents are critical for accurate identification. That’s why it’s important to ensure these decisions are made through the existing process for amending a birth certificate and not at the local license branch.

The bill will now head to the House floor.