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IN RE: the Application of [N.K.] for Leave to Change Their Name to [Redacted] and for Leave to Change Their Sex Designation to X. (2022)

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Civil Court, City of New York,

IN RE: the Application of [N.K.] for Leave to Change Their Name to [Redacted] and for Leave to Change Their Sex Designation to X.

Index No. NC-[REDACTED]/BX

Decided: July 19, 2022

N.K., petitioner pro se.

Petitioner — a resident of Bronx County born in the State of Georgia — brings this ex parte petition pursuant to Civil Rights Law Arts. 6 and 6-a for leave to change their name and sex designation, and specifically for orders reflecting those changes on petitioner's Georgia birth certificate and New York identification. The Court grants the instant petition for leave to change petitioner's name on their New York-issued identification and Georgia birth certificate, and grants their application to change their sex designation on any and all New York-issued identification from “female” to the gender-neutral, non-binary gender designation of “X.” Additionally, to the extent that such gender-neutral, non-binary designation is available under Georgia law governing amendments of Georgia-issued birth certificates, the Court grants petitioner's application to amend their birth certificate consistent with this Order.

Regarding petitioner's New York State Identification Card, petitioner is entitled to the requested changes of name and sex designation under the New York Civil Rights Law §§ 63 and 67-a. Accordingly, the Court grants petitioner's application to amend any and all New York State or City-issued identification documents, as requested.

Regarding petitioner's Georgia birth certificate, the laws of Georgia, rather than New York, control any amendments to that particular document. Matter of “Mary”, 75 Misc.3d 643, 169 N.Y.S.3d 483, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 22135, *1-2 (Sup. Ct., Clinton Co. 2022) (denying petition to amend Vermont birth certificate to reflect petitioner's gender identity). Therefore, the questions presented in this application turn on whether Georgia law permits this Court to grant the relief petitioner seeks in relation to their Georgia birth certificate.

Georgia law expressly permits the proposed change of name under the facts and supporting documents provided by petitioner. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(d), “[u]pon receipt of a certified copy of an order from a superior court, probate court, or other court of competent jurisdiction changing the name of a person born in this state and upon request of such person ․ the state registrar shall amend the certificate of birth to show the new name.” This Court has express jurisdiction to consider name change petitions pursuant to New York Civil Rights Law § 60, and therefore is an “other court of competent jurisdiction” for purposes of O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(d), with express authority from the State of Georgia to direct amendment of petitioner's Georgia birth certificate. See, Matter of “Mary,” at *4 (discussing impact of a “grant of authority from the people [of another state], duly enacted through its legislature,” on New York court's power to direct amendment of another state's birth certificate). Accordingly, petitioner's application for an order amending the name contained on their birth certificate is granted as requested.

As to petitioner's application to amend their sex designation on their Georgia-issued birth certificate from “female” to a gender-neutral, non-binary designation (such as the “X” designation available in New York), the Court is unaware of any law or regulation in Georgia expressly addressing, providing for, or prohibiting such option. See, Georgia Dept. of Public Health, Birth Records, https://dph.georgia.gov/ways-request-vital-record/birth (last accessed Jul. 19, 2022). In such situations, Georgia law provides that “[u]nless otherwise specified by law, a certificate or report registered under this chapter may be amended in accordance with this chapter and regulations adopted by the department to protect the integrity and accuracy of vital records,” and “[s]uch regulations shall specify the minimum evidence required for a change in any certificate or report.” O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(a).1 As the proposed amendment to petitioner's birth certificate does not appear to be otherwise specified by Georgia law, the regulations applicable to the instant petition is Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 511-1-3-.31, which permits the State Registrar, an officer of the Georgia Department of Public Health, to amend birth certificates by the following relevant methods:

“(b) Drawing a single line through the item to be amended and inserting the correct data immediately above or to the side thereof. The line drawn through the original entry shall not obliterate such entry. A short explanation of the change and the justification or authorization should be typed or written on the back of the certificate. The person making the change on the certificate shall show the date of the change and print or type their name on the reverse of the certificate; [or]

(c) Unless otherwise provided by Statute or in these Regulations, a special Amended birth certificate Form shall be completed for all corrections or additions made on a birth certificate after the first year. Such form shall include the incorrect information as it appears on the original birth certificate, the correct information as it should appear, an abstract of the documentation used to substantiate the amendment, and sufficient information about the registrant to link the special form to the original record. Copies of the amended birth certificate shall be issued in lieu of copies of the original certificate. County copies of the original certificate shall be forwarded to the State Registrar by the local custodian upon receipt of a copy of the amended certificate.”

Finding no Georgia laws or regulations to the contrary, and consistent with O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(a), the Court finds that petitioner has satisfied the requirements under Georgia law to seek and obtain from the Georgia Department of Public Health a discretionary amendment of petitioner's birth certificate, or a special amended birth certificate, pursuant to and Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 511-1-3-.31(b) and/or (c), consistent with this Order.

THEREFORE, upon the application for a name and sex designation change by the petitioner, verified March 25, 2022, and all other papers and proceedings had herein, and the Court being satisfied that the petition is true, and that there is no reasonable objection to the changes proposed, it is hereby

ORDERED that the petition for leave to change petitioner's name and sex designation as proposed in the petition and application is GRANTED for all purposes; and it is further

ORDERED that the individual currently known as [REDACTED], is authorized to assume the name of [REDACTED] in place of their present name, and shall be known by no other name; and it is further

ORDERED that petitioner is authorized to seek, from any issuing New York State or New York City agency, an amendment of petitioner's New York State Identification Card, or any other such identification cards, reflecting petitioner's name as changed by this Order; and it is further

ORDERED that pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(d), petitioner is authorized to seek, from the Georgia Department of Public Health, an amendment of petitioner's birth certificate, reflecting petitioner's name as changed by this Order; and it is further

ORDERED that petitioner is authorized to seek, from any issuing New York State or New York City agency, an amendment of petitioner's New York State Identification Card, or any other such identification cards, reflecting petitioner's changed sex designation from “female” to the proposed gender-neutral, non-binary sex designation “X;” and it is further

ORDERED that pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(a) and Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 511-1-3-.31(b) and (c), petitioner is authorized to seek, from Georgia Department of Public Health, an amendment of petitioner's birth certificate, or a special Amended birth certificate, reflecting petitioner's changed sex designation from “female” to the proposed gender neutral, non-binary sex designation “X,” or any such similar gender-neutral, non-binary designation as may be provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health; and it is further

ORDERED that this Order be entered and the papers on which it was decided be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Civil Court of the City of New York, County of Bronx, and that the authorizations contained herein are contingent upon full compliance with the provisions and directives of this Order.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

FOOTNOTES

1.   The Georgia law concerning amendments to birth certificates from one binary gender designation to another binary gender designation (i.e., male to female or female to male), O.C.G.A. § 31-10-23(e), does not appear to be applicable.

Jeffrey S. Zellan, J.

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