The ACLU of Idaho strives for a state free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That is, we work toward building an Idaho where an individual who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community can live openly, with dignity, and with the same civil rights and protections as everyone else. Our LGBTQ+ community should live in an Idaho where their identities, relationships and families are respected, and, just like everyone else, should be treated fairly on the job, in schools, housing, public places, health care and government programs. 

Basic Rights and Liberties In Idaho

Housing, Employment and Public Accommodations:

Currently, twelve cities have protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. These laws are called nondiscrimination ordinances. Non-discrimination ordinances (NDOs) are local laws that protect individuals from discrimination based on characteristics like race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. They apply to areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations, ensuring equal treatment and preventing discriminatory practices within the jurisdiction. 

Only two counties in Idaho have NDO’s. Ada county passed a non-discrimination ordinance in 2020 based on sexual orientation or gender identity and applies to areas like employment, housing and public accommodations. Latah county also has an anti-discrimination ordinance in place that cannot discriminate because of sexual orientation and gender identity, this only applicable to county employees. 

What if my city does not have a Non-Discrimination Ordinance and I have been discriminated against? 

If the potential discrimination happened in a city without a nondiscrimination ordinance, you may not be protected. Please Contact our office and the Idaho Human Rights Commission for more information on referrals and other avenues you can take. 

Are these NDO’s permanent or can they be challenged? 

These ordinances can be challenged at any time, making it crucial for community members to stay informed about local and state efforts to repeal them. For instance, Pocatello narrowly protected its ordinance, and there have been attempts at the state legislature to limit the power of municipalities. It is crucial to remain vigilant and proactive in defending these protections. 

Does Idaho have Statewide Protections? 

There are no official statewide protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The ACLU of Idaho works closely with Add the Words, Planned Parenthood, Pride Foundation and other LGBTQ organizations to continue to try to pass inclusive statewide legislation.

Marriage:

It has been legal for same sex couples to be married in the state of Idaho since Oct 15, 2014. At the federal level, all same sex couples have the right to marry, according to the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision, received on June 26th, 2015. 

Students: 

LGBTQ students have the right to:

  • attend school, free of harassment due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, 
  • not be "outed" at school or to their parents or family
  •  organize Gay-Straight Alliances and other clubs
  • the same 1st amendment rights to freedom of speech as other students
  • wear the gendered type of clothes that they feel comfortable in at prom or other dances
  • take a same sex date to prom or other dances.

See more about your rights as a student here.

The rights of transgender students to use gendered facilities that match their gender identity are still being battled in the courts, but if you are a transgender student or the parent of a transgender student and are concerned about the ability to use gendered facilities, please contact us. 

Transgender Rights 

Name Changes for Adults (unrelated to marriage)

In Idaho, there are different processes for changing your name, depending on whether you are over or under 18 years old, and whether the name change is because of marriage.  

For Idahoans at least 18 years old seeking a name change unrelated to marriage, the process involves a court order, paying fees, giving public notice, and attending a hearing. Basically, you will need to take the following steps:  

  1. To begin, you will need to ask (or “petition”) the court to change your name. The petition involves filling out forms, which you can find and download from the Idaho Court Assistance Office website.
  2. After filling out your name change forms, you’ll return them to the Clerk’s Office in your county’s courthouse. It costs $166.00 (as of June 20, 2024) to file your name change petition.  
  3. Next, you’ll publish your name change in a local newspaper for four consecutive weeks. Legal name change notices usually run between $70 and $120 (the Idaho Statesman quoted between $70 and $85, and noted the price may vary based on how long the publication runs).
  4. The final step involves attending a court hearing for your name change. If your name change is granted during the hearing, the court will give you your approved legal name change document. 

You can change your name on the following documents in Idaho: 

Driver’s Licenses

After receiving your approved legal name change document (sometimes called a “court ordered name change document”) you can pay a fee (about $30) to change the name on your driver’s license, vehicle title and registration, with IRS, U.S. postal service, and on your insurance, bank account, and credit cards. The process involves filling out an online form (available here).  

Once you complete the online form and payment, you can change the name on your Social Security card by re-applying for a card here. You’ll need your passport, driver’s license or ID, and the process is free.    

You can also update your name on official documents in-person at your local DMV. Working with the DMV involves a slightly different process: you must first notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your name change, provide the SSA with your legal name change paperwork, and request a replacement Social Security card.  

The SSA will then send confirmation of your name change. You would then bring the SSA confirmation to your county’s DMV office, where the DMV will verify your name change and update your Idaho driver’s license. 

Employment Documents (private and public sector)
You need an updated Social Security card before you can change your name on any employment records. However, having an updated Social Security card should make changing your name on employment and IRS records less difficult – if not automatic.
 
Birth Certificates
Name changes on birth certificates are processed by Idaho's Health and Welfare Department’s (IHWD) Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. To update your birth certificate, you’ll send a written request and a completed application to IHDW’s Vital Records office, along with copy of a government issued ID. You will also need to send an official copy of your legal name change documents that’s been certified by the court.  
 
The process takes about 4-6 weeks and costs $20.00. You can request expedited processing for an additional $25.00.  
 
It is important to note that even with court approval, IDHW can still reject your application – there is no policy about whether the Department will grant your request, but you can appeal if it is denied. It is also important to note that the Department will print your former name below your updated name on the new certificate. Practically speaking, that means even updated birth certificates can still out someone as transgender.  
 
Academic Records/Medical Records
Name changes for previous records are usually up to the institution/organization and may be as easy as an email asking for the change to be made. Contact the individual institution/organization for the correct way to go about changing your name in academic records and medical records. 
 

Gender Marker Changes

Idaho Driver's Licenses
To complete a gender marker change on many documents, a government issued ID that reflects your desired gender and appearance is needed. In Idaho, the policy for the Department of Transportation requires a signed affidavit from a physician stating the completed transition of an individual to the gender they are wishing to change. Besides the visit to the doctor in order to sign the affidavit, a notary must be present and notarize the document. 
 
 
U.S. Passport
The affidavit needed for your driver’s license is not enough to change your passport or Social Security card. If you add the following information to the physician’s affidavit, it would also satisfy the requirements for a US Passport and Social Security gender marker change. You also need a government issued ID to reflect your current physical appearance. You can find the full list of requirements at this website. If you are in the process of transitioning, then you will only be issued a two year passport, needing to be updated after fully transitioning. The gender reassignment is not specified, and is up to a doctors’ discretion.  
 
Social Security Card

Updating the gender marker on your Social Security (SS) card involves several steps; the process is similar to that of a name change, except it is completed after updating your government-issued identification documents.  

You do not need to provide medical or legal evidence to update your SS card, but you will need to prove your identity. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will accept your driver’s license, ID card, or U.S. passport; other documents like a health insurance or military ID can also be used, if needed.  

The SSA will accept identification documents that list a gender different than your sex assigned at birth, or different from the sex listed on your original SS card. The Administration also accepts documents that list your sex as non-binary (or unspecified), but SS cards do not currently accommodate non-binary folks (i.e., your card will list either “male” or “female”).  

You may also be required to prove U.S. citizenship; the SSA will only accept certain documents as proof. You can review the list of acceptable identification and citizenship documents, download necessary forms, and learn more about the process of updating your SS card on the SSA website.  

 
Birth Certificates 
 
Any Idahoan that desires to change their gender marker on their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity can do so through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. View the forms on the IDHW website. Despite attempts by the Idaho legislature to push discriminatory laws that deny transgender people the opportunity to change their gender marker, the federal court upheld its decision and warned Idaho’s government on its violation of the original court order and blatant discrimination against the transgender community.