In Re The Name Change of E.N.R.F. (formerly known as Doe v. Pence)

Issue Area: ,

Year: 2016 Court: Indiana Status: Victory

A transgender man prohibited from changing his legal name because of his immigration classification is suing Indiana state officials. The lawsuit, filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Transgender Law Center on behalf of a 31-year-old Indiana resident, alleges that a 2010 state law requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a change of legal name is unconstitutional. The suit alleges the citizenship provision of the Indiana law is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause that guarantees individuals will not be discriminated against based on their alienage. Additionally, it violates the First Amendment right to freedom of speech by compelling speech from the plaintiff that betrays and falsely communicates the core of who he is, according to the complaint.

Indiana Legal Services, Inc (ILSI), MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), the Law Office of Barbara J. Baird, and the Transgender Law Center (TLC) won this case on May 18th, 2020.

A Court of Appeals of Indiana on Monday unanimously held that a state name-change law does not require a petitioner to be a U.S. citizen to change their name. The Indiana State Attorney General conceded that the citizenship requirement of the name-change law is unconstitutional as applied to these petitioners, who had been granted legal permanent residency or had successfully applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

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