Bill to offer 'nonbinary' option on California driver's license goes to Senate

Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 21:35:47-04

(KGTV) - A bill that would create the option for a third gender marker on California driver's licenses and birth certificates is heading to the state Senate.

SB 179, also known as the Gender Recognition Act and introduced by Senator Toni Atkins, passed through the State Assembly 50-13 and will now return to the Senate for approval of amendments made in the assembly.

If approved in the Senate, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown's desk for signing.

RELATED: San Diegan third in nation to change gender to 'nonbinary'

California Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), a co-author of the bill, said the legislation aims to end the stigma and hardships Californians face when it comes to government documentation.

“All too often, members of our transgender, intersex, and nonbinary community experience hardships and even stigma when their government documents don’t match their gender presentation," Gloria said in a release. "Despite the divisive rhetoric at the federal level, SB 179 demonstrates the inclusiveness of California and represents recognition from government that people can exist as more than just male or female."

In addition to a third gender marker on state-issued identification documents, the bill is also designed to "streamline" the process for transgender, intersex, and nonbinary Californians to get those certificates.

RELATED: Oregon becomesfirststate to allow gender-neutral licenses

Currently, changes to gender in California require proof of "clinically appropriate treatment." Atkins' bill does away with this requirement.

Under the bill, anyone who chooses to change their gender would be allowed to "to attest, under penalty of perjury, that the request is to conform the person’s legal gender to the person’s gender identity and not for any fraudulent purpose."

If approved, this portion of the bill would go into effect September 2018.

In the case of driver's licenses, the bill would require an applicant to have the choices of male, female, or nonbinary, as specified, available. This portion would go into effect January 2019, according to the bill's text.

Read the bill's full text here.