On July 11, 2023, the ACLU of Kansas, the ACLU, and Stinson LLP filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit between Attorney General Kris Kobach and The Kansas Department of Revenue, on behalf of five transgender Kansans who would be irreparably harmed by an unconstitutional effort by Kobach to ban and reverse changes to the gender markers on their driver’s licenses.
Citing a new law passed by the Kansas state legislature over a veto by Governor Laura Kelly attempting to limit the rights of transgender people, Attorney General Kobach filed a lawsuit, Kansas v. Harper, in state court on July 7 against the government agency that issues driver’s licenses, asking the court to prohibit transgender people from changing their gender markers on their driver’s licenses. Judge Teresa Watson granted a temporary restraining order early Monday morning before the state could respond, which has blocked the Kelly administration from allowing gender marking changes while the case goes forward.
The Kansas Constitution guarantees Kansans who are transgender the same rights as Kansans who are not transgender. Those rights include those guaranteed by Section 1 of the Bill of Rights, such as rights of personal autonomy, privacy, and equality. AG Kobach's interpretation of the law and actions place the state at risk of infringing on those fundamental rights, and limiting freedom for trans people worsens conditions for all women by re-entrenching the very gender stereotypes that have underpinned centuries of women’s oppression.
On August 18, 2023, Judge Watson granted the motion to intervene, thereby ensuring that the transgender community impacted by the very issues at the center of Kansas v. Harper would be entitled to make their arguments and have their voices heard in by the Court.
Discovery closed November 8, 2023. An evidentiary hearing on the Attorney General’s request for a temporary injunction will be held January 10-11, 2024, in Shawnee County District Court before Judge Watson.