Rosky testifies at Utah State Legislature on process to legally change gender

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Clifford Rosky testified at the Utah State Legislature this week in a hearing to discuss a bill that would set guidelines for transgender people to legally change their gender designation through the court system.

Rosky voiced concerns about the constitutionality of  SB138, introduced by Sen.Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. The legislation would allow a person to file a petition with the court to change their gender designation if they meet criteria, such as living in a Utah county for at least one year; not being on probation or parole; not being involved in other legal proceedings and not seeking the change as a way to avoid creditors.

Professor Clifford Rosky

Rosky said the provision stating applicants must live in the county for a least one year is unconstitutional. People who were born in Utah and are now living out-of-state can’t be denied the ability to change a Utah record, he said. He also questioned language in the bill suggesting a person couldn’t be recognized as transgender until their birth certificate changed.

The proposal moved ahead after the sponsor promised to work with Rosky and other stakeholders to address these concerns.  Discussion surrounding the bill comes as the Utah Supreme Court considers several pending cases where judges have refused to grant gender change petitions.

Rosky was quoted by several news outlets about the proposal, including the Associated Press, Deseret News, KUER  and Fox 13 among others.

At the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Rosky teaches courses on constitutional law and LGBT rights.

In 2016, Rosky played a significant role in repealing Utah’s “No Promo Homo” law.

His comprehensive study of anti-gay curriculum laws published in the Columbia Law Review was the foundation for the lawsuit filed by the non-profit LGBT organization Equality Utah and three LGBT students against the State Board of Education to challenge the constitutionality of Utah’s “No Promo Homo” law.

The law prohibited Utah students and teachers from discussing “homosexuality” in the state’s public schools.  Last fall, Equality Utah and the plaintiffs announced a final settlement with the State Board of Education, bringing an end to the lawsuit.

At the time, Utah was only the second state in history —after California —to repeal a “No Promo Homo” law.

Rosky serves on the Equality Utah Advisory Council and previously served as Equality Utah Board Chair.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Utah, Rosky served as a research fellow for the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law.

After moving to Utah, Rosky has authored numerous articles on LGBT rights, including an award-winning article on the Prop 8 case, “Perry v. Schwarzenegger and the Future of Same-Sex Marriage Law.” Rosky was one of the primary authors of SB 296, Utah’s new antidiscrimination law that extends employment and housing protections to LGBTQ people.

He is currently working on a package of bills to address the state’s increasing youth suicide rates, in connection with the governor’s taskforce on preventing teen suicide.