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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

EDITORIAL: Justice can't be blind when rulings are stupid

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 06, 2017 12:01 am

The Indiana Court of Appeals has just issued a horrendous decision saying that transgenders who wish to change their names or officially register as a different sex on their birth certificates can do so without having their titles published in newspapers for public record. The court's members either don't know what they're talking about or they're so intimidated by social justice warriors that they shouldn't be trusted with adjudicating traffic tickets.

The justices, reversing a lower court decision, ruled that it “was erroneous to create a requirement where none exists” and that it “was not fair for the state to continue demanding superfluous conditions on the transgender community and that the burden was not one they should face.”

That is patently absurd.

The transgender community is not facing a requirement that had not existed. It is not being asked to shoulder a unique burden based on “superfluous conditions.”

The requirement in Indiana for those who want to change their names is to file a petition with the court and have a Notice of Petition for Change of Name published once a week for three weeks in their local newspaper. That's the requirement for everybody, and it always has been. It wasn't just made up to harass transgenders.

And there is a good reason for the requirement. It's to prevent people who want to quietly change their names for the purpose of fraud or other nefarious reasons. Maybe they owe thousands in back child support or are hiding out from creditors. Maybe they're trying to hide a bad job history from a prospective employer or keep a new spouse from finding they already have one. Maybe they're sex offenders who want to move in next door.

If transgenders are given a pass on the requirement, how can anybody else be held to it?

People who might be endangered by publication of the name-change request are already exempt from the requirement by state law. But the appeals court went further and said transgenders could be exempt if they had “experienced discrimination” or even “witnessed attacks that were a result of a person's transgender status.”

For justice to be blind — and we surely should want that — the law must treat everyone equally. A law that treats one group of people one way and another group a different way is either a bad law or has been twisted by incompetent judges. 

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