D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for amending the city’s Vital Records Act of 1981 “to clarify the process for respecting a decedent’s gender identity on his or her death certificate.”
The Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2015, among other things, would require a funeral director or another person completing a death certificate to “record the decedent’s sex to reflect the decedent’s gender identity” as defined in the D.C. Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on gender identity and other factors.
“In case of conflicting information from sources, the death certificate shall be based on documentation that memorializes the decedent’s gender transition,” the bill states. “If documentation is not available, it shall be based on information from individuals most familiar with the decedent’s gender identity at the time of death,” it says.
The bill says documents that may memorialize a gender transition include written instructions from the decedent, a court order approving a name or gender change, an advanced health care directive, or documentation of “an appropriate course of treatment for the purpose of gender transition.”
Eight Council members signed on as co-sponsor of Cheh’s bill: Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Elissa Silverman (D-At-Large), David Grosso (I-At-Large), Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Vincent Orange (D-At-Large), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1).
Among those not signing on as co-sponsors were Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), who chairs the Council’s Judiciary Committee, to which the bill was assigned.