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Your name is what ever you want it to be

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Court erred in declining name change for gender transition

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

What you want to call yourself legally is no one’s business but your own, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

In a precedent-setting decision, the three-judge panel overturned a ruling by Yuma County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Kenworthy denying a bid by Valeria Cortez to change his name − and without even giving him a hearing. In his order, Kenworthy dismissed the application for “failure to show good cause.”

But appellate Judge David Weinzweig said there was no legal basis for Kenworthy, a Democrat, to reach that conclusion.

He said nothing in Arizona law requires someone seeking a legal name change to provide “good cause” − or, for that matter, any cause at all.

Attorney Abigail Jensen of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance said the ruling is a significant victory, and not just for those who are going through gender reassignment. She said it sends a message to judges that they don’t get to second-guess the names that people choose for themselves.

“So if someone wants to use a name that other people might think is frivolous, that’s not grounds to deny the name change,” Jensen said.

That is pretty much what the appellate court ruled.


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  • Published: 6 months ago on December 4, 2019
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  • Last Modified: December 4, 2019 @ 12:10 pm
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