In denying a name-change request in a transgender case last year, Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves was guided by his aversion to such procedures on moral grounds. But Graves is compelled to follow the law, and on those grounds he failed.
This week a three-judge panel of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled unanimously that Graves must order the name change for Steven Charles Harvey, who had asked to change his name to Christie Ann Harvey.
Judges may deny a name-change request if they find it’s being sought “for an illegal or fraudulent purpose.” Graves said people can’t really change their gender because their DNA remains the same, so in essence they’re perpetrating a fraud.
Poppycock, the appeals court said: “The relevant issue in a name change proceeding is not whether the applicant’s DNA corresponds with the traditionally male or female name preferred by the applicant. The statute does not change the sex of the applicant, only the applicant’s name.”
Graves’ decision was ridiculous, its appeal an easy call for the court.