Gov. Stitt Signs Executive Order To Stop OSDH From Amending Birth Certificates

Wednesday, November 10th 2021, 1:43 pm
By: LeighAnne Manwarren

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order to stop amending state birth certificates.

The order was filed on Monday and stated the Oklahoma State Department of Health does not have any legal ability to "alter a person's sex or gender on a birth certificate" under Oklahoma law.

OSDH announced it reached a settlement to allow state birth certificates to include a non-binary designation.

"It has come to my attention that the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has entered into a settlement agreement which was not reviewed or approved by my Administration," Stitt said in the order. "This settlement requires OSDH to amend birth certificates in a manner not permitted under Oklahoma Law. This Order ensures that this unauthorized action will be corrected."

The order wanted OSDH to immediately cease amending birth certificates, remove any reference to amending birth certificates, inform the governor's office of any pending litigation related to amending birth certificates in Oklahoma, and provide the governor's office with any other information that OSDH feels is responsive to the executive order.

Stitt also encouraged state lawmakers "immediately pass legislation that will clarify, to the extent necessary, that changes in sex or gender on a birth certificate or a designation of non-binary is contrary to Oklahoma Law" and "include in the legislation a provision that requires the Commissioner of Health to promulgate any administrative rules necessary to effectuate the purposes of this statue."

An OSDH spokesman released the following statement after news of the executive order was published:

"The Oklahoma State Department of Health stands committed to serving the citizens of Oklahoma in maintaining the integrity of vital records. Pursuant to Governor Stitt’s Executive Order, OSDH will continue to amend birth certificates as allowed by law. These amendments will include legal change of name or corrections of errors. OSDH will work with the Governor and Attorney General on any orders for amendments that may fall outside the scope of 63 O.S. 1-321. OSDH will continue to uphold its mandate in the area of vital statistics within the authority granted by the Oklahoma Legislature."