Update (10/26/2014)— The News Journal has written both and an op-ed about the case.

The ACLU of Delaware is arguing a case on behalf of a transgendered inmate who has been banned from changing his legal name because he does not have a sincerely-held religious belief necessitating the change.

In a brief filed with the Delaware Supreme Court on October 20, 2014, the ACLU argues that the state’s denial of a petition for a name change by Lakisha Short, a transgendered inmate, violates Mr. Short’s right to receive medical treatment under the Eighth Amendment, his First Amendment right to expression through a name change, and his Fourteenth Amendment rights to Due Process and Equal Protection. Additionally, the application of the ban on name changes to transgender prisoners based on their gender identity directly conflicts with the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act.

Gender identity is a recognized protected class in Delaware. Regardless of whether a transgender person is your next door neighbor or is incarcerated, that person has a right to protection against discrimination based on gender identity. Furthermore, allowing for a name change for religious reasons but not for secular ones is a violation of church-state separation provided under the First Amendment.

More information about the case can be found in the full text of both the earlier opinion and current opening brief.

Date filed