Montana governor signs laws defining sex as only male and female, protecting parents’ rights – LifeSite

HELENA (LifeSiteNews) — The governor of Montana has signed two laws to define sex as biological in state law and protect parental rights. 

Last week, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law HB 676 and SB 458, making Montana the latest state to challenge gender ideology and the trend to undermine parental rights.

HB 676, signed and effective on Thursday, May 18, declares that “a government entity may not interfere with the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children unless the government entity demonstrates that the interference furthers a compelling government interest.” 

READ: Tennessee codifies biological definition of sex, protects teachers from trans pronoun mandates

Rights protected under this act include decisions regarding a child’s education, access to children’s academic and medical records, religious upbringing, and physical and mental health decisions. Such information and decisions are reserved for the biological or adoptive parents or legal guardians of a child “unless authorized pursuant to a court order.” 

“Except for law enforcement, an employee of a government entity may not encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from the child’s parent and may not withhold from a child’s parent information that is relevant to the physical, emotional, or mental health of a child.” 

Under the law, parents have the freedom to choose without pressure which institution — public, private, religious or homeschool — in which to educate their child. Requirements to share all information regarding a child with his or her parents also protect against the recurring scenario of school officials hiding a child’s gender confusion from parents in an ultimate act of undermining parental rights and abusing the authority of the education system. 

If the law is violated, parents may pursue legal action to obtain appropriate relief against the government entity without regard to whether the proceeding is brought by or in the name of a government entity, a private person, or any other party.” 

HB 676 also specifically prohibits anyone besides parents or legal guardians from obtaining any physical and mental health treatments, interventions, or appointments for children. Exceptions are in place for emergencies and treating certain illnesses such as those induced by drug or alcohol abuse. Although this provision doesn’t apply to abortions, another state law already requires parental consent before a minor obtains an abortion. 

READ: Montana becomes latest state to ban transgender drugs, surgeries for children

Montana law currently allows for abortion until viability and after should the mother’s life be deemed in danger. Medical experts attest that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life. Gov. Gianforte recently signed a ban on dismemberment abortion, but the legislation was blocked in court days later.  

On Friday, Gianforte signed SB 458 to amend and clarify various definitions in state law and specifically “to provide a common definition for the word sex when referring to a human.” 

The law defines a female as “a member of the human species who, under normal development, has XX chromosomes and produces … eggs” and a male as “a member of the human species who, under normal development, has XY chromosomes and would produce … sperm.” 

“’Sex’ means the organization of the body parts and gametes for reproduction in human beings in other organisms,” the law continues. “In human beings, there are exactly two sexes, male and female, with two corresponding types of gametes. The sexes are determined by the biological and genetic indication of male or female, including sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex chromosomes, gonads, and non-ambiguous internal and external genitalia present at birth.” 

The legislation adds that such definitions remain valid “without regard to an individual’s psychological, behavioral, social, chosen, or subjective experience of gender.” 

Under these definitions, SB 458 requires all athletic activities sponsored by any academic institution — including public elementary schools, high schools, and universities — to segregate teams according to biological sex as either male, female, or coed. 

“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” the law states. 

The new laws come weeks after Gianforte signed SB 99, banning so-called “gender transitions” for minors. Under this law, medical professionals are prohibited from distributing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to gender-confused children and committing irreversible surgical procedures on them. Those who break the law risk a one-year suspension of their medical licenses and legal action brought upon them by the children they mutilated, the children’s parents, or the state’s attorney general. 

Montana is the third state this year to codify a definition of sex as biological and binary in state law. In February, the Kansas legislature approved a proposal to define sex as male and female rather than a “fluid” concept. Last week, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed similar legislation to define sex as biological in the Tennessee Code. Lee has also enacted a ban on child mutilation and “gender transitions,” while Kansas’ Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a similar ban that passed the legislature.  


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