Yesterday, there were news stories stating that a new law went in to effect in New York on January 1, 2019 allowing for birth certificates specifying a non-binary gender (i.e. not male and not female). Here are two in particular:
- “New York law now allows gender-neutral birth certificates” (kcra.com; January 1, 2019)
- “New York Rings in New Year by Offering Gender-Neutral Birth Certificates” (dailysignal.com; January 2, 2019)
The headlines are misleading for this reason: It isn’t a New York state law. Instead, the law that went in to effect yesterday is a New York City law. This law was signed by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio on October 9, 2018 and went into effect January 1, 2019.
For those interested, this new law is under the Administrative Code of the City of New York. If you want to look it up yourself, it is Title 17, Section 167.1 entitled “Sex Designation on Birth Records”.
As an aside for those interested, California has a law that allows for gender-neutral birth certificates also. Called the Gender Recognition Act, it was passed as California Senate Bill 179 (SB 179) in October 2017 and went in to effect January 1, 2018. At the time, it made California the first state in the US to recognize a third gender.
As usual with any blog post regarding New York, I need to make clear that while I am licensed to practice law in New York state, I don’t maintain an office anywhere in the state of New York (at least as of the date of this post). As a result, I can’t practice law there due to New York Judiciary Law section 470.