INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana's attorney general has put the brakes on a proposed Bureau of Motor Vehicles rule establishing a simple procedure to modify a person's gender on their driver's license and ID.

The move also jeopardizes a plan by the Indiana State Department of Health to allow Hoosiers to change their gender on a birth certificate with just a physician's statement.

It is the latest chapter in years-long wrangling over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Indiana that will likely end up in the legislature.

The BMV proposal has been quietly moving through the administrative rulemaking process and was set to become effective in October.

But Attorney General Curtis Hill declined to sign off on the rule based on “their perception that public notice wasn't sufficient,” BMV spokeswoman Susan Guyer said.

The rule says either a birth certificate or a special Indiana State Department of Health form is needed to change gender on licenses and IDs. It is essentially the same policy that exists now except it will be a health department form instead of the motor vehicle agency form.

“The BMV is not in the medical field,” BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy said. “It makes more sense that the doctor's note be a state department of health form and that the state department of health would administer the physician portion.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box would not disclose exactly what the health form says, making it difficult to understand the full impact of the rule.

But in an interview with The Journal Gazette, Box said it is similar to the existing BMV form.

“They have to have an MD or DO attest to the fact that they've undergone transition. They basically have had medical treatment in order to transition and that can be a whole gamut,” she said. “To some people that's counseling, and to some people that's surgery. That's between a physician and the patient to decide.”
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