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California Notaries Will See Driver’s Licenses Listing A New Gender Choice In 2019

CALicenseGenderSmall.jpgIf you’re a California Notary, you may be caught off guard if you’re handed a driver’s license this year that no longer lists the bearer as being either “Male” or “Female.” Don’t be alarmed — this option is now legal under a new state law, and you may still accept licenses and IDs with this new gender option issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you perform a notarization. 

Senate Bill 179, signed into law last October by Governor Brown and which took effect January 1, allows persons applying for a California driver’s license or DMV-issued identification card to select a gender choice of “nonbinary” (marked as an “X” on the card under “Sex”) instead of “M” for “Male” or “F” for “Female”). Persons who wish to update their current license or ID to change their gender category may do so by scheduling an appointment with the DMV. A person may also update their gender category when applying for a name change on their California driver’s license or ID.

A California driver’s license or ID listing the signer’s gender as “nonbinary” can still be accepted by Notaries as proof of identity. Per California rules for identifying signers, these identification documents must be currently valid or issued within the past 5 years in order to be accepted by Notaries as proof of a signer’s identity.

What To Do About Gender Information On California Notary Certificate Wording

Update 1-15-19. Several Notaries have asked how they should complete the “he/she/they” section of the California Notary certificate wording if a signer presents identification indicating a nonbinary gender.

The new driver’s license law regarding gender choices does not address completing gender information on Notary certificate wording. Because certificate wording is set by state law in California, California Notaries must continue to use the wording exactly as set in statute. It is possible this issue may be addressed by the state Legislature in the future. 

Because the NNA has been made aware in the past of some document receiving agencies rejecting documents when Notaries crossed out gender pronouns in notarial certificates, we believe it is best to leave the words “he/she/they” alone so that the certificate will not be rejected by an agency that thinks the Notary made a mistake by crossing out the “he/she” At this time, the NNA suggests leaving the “he/she/they” portion of the certificate wording as it is without marking, circling or lining through any gender choices. 

From a best practices standpoint, if California Notaries wish to note in their journal entry that a signer presented ID indicating a nonbinary gender, the Notary should note in the journal that the signer presented an ID with a gender description as “nonbinary” but that the certificate form used was the statutory form.

We will update this article if we receive any new information. 

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association. 

 

37 Comments

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Gerry

10 Jan 2019

What will the notaries do with the he/she/they text in the acknowledgement certificate?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Joe Ewing

14 Jan 2019

When will the California Secretary of State issue a new acknowledgment that reads, he/she/x/their. Until that happens notaries can’t accept the new ID.

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. You may still use the statutory CA acknowledgment certificate wording as normal. Our Hotline Team recommends leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

D Pitcher

14 Jan 2019

When is the acknowledgement verbiage going to change to accommodate this?

Len Taylor

14 Jan 2019

It appears that the Acknowledgment form on the website for the CA Secretary of State has not changed. On that form, I usually underline the appropriate sex, and cross-out the other sex when I meet with an individual. Should notaries now skip that step?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Susan Booth

14 Jan 2019

So how does this impact our notarial wording where we are supposed to select “he/she/they” etc?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Amanda

14 Jan 2019

So which pronoun would we circle in the acknowledgment? Currently our choices are he/she/they.

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Tim Bowman

14 Jan 2019

So do we use "they" verbiage on the notarial act?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Angela

14 Jan 2019

So, if we do a notarization for a person with this gender, how would we complete the CA acknowledgement form where it statys "he/she/they". Do we use they?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Cheryl Meril

14 Jan 2019

They need to change our certificates to reflect the change. Otherwise binaries may sue the notary.

Teresa Barrett

14 Jan 2019

So which acknowledgement form should be used?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. CA Notaries would still use the statutory acknowledgment certificate wording.

John Elliott

14 Jan 2019

I just attended the NNA training class in San Diego on the 8th. I specifically asked about gender identity and how to address it on our Acknowledgement form. I was told "to look on their approved ID and use my own judgement" and 2, I asked if there was any laws or proposals being discussed at this time and she said "No". Little shocked to see this article less than a week later.

Kerri Marvel

14 Jan 2019

What does the law say about how to fill in the cross-out section on the acknowledgement certificate? (they/he/she)

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. CA law does not address this issue at the present time. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Jack Crawford

14 Jan 2019

So, how are we supposed to complete the section on an acknowledgement where we are to designate (he/she/they)?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Patt wexler

14 Jan 2019

Why haven't you asked CA SOS instead of relying on your own hotline team?

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2019

Hello. We've updated the article above with the most current information we have available. We will share any new information we receive with our readers.

Len Taylor

14 Jan 2019

It appears that the Acknowledgment form on the website for the CA Secretary of State has not changed. On that form, I usually underline the appropriate sex, and cross-out the other sex when I meet with an individual. Should notaries now skip that step?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2019

Hello. We forwarded this question to our Hotline Team, and they recommend leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate wording as is without marking it. If we receive any updates or new guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office we will let you know.

Amanda

15 Jan 2019

Have you reached out to the CA Secretary of State and asked for clarification on the pronoun issue? Thanks.

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2019

Hello. We have not received any specific guidelines from the CA Secretary of State's office at this time regarding the pronoun issue; however we will update this article if that should change.

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2019

Hi Amanda. We will update the article with any new information we receive.

Len Taylor

15 Jan 2019

It appears that the Acknowledgment form on the website for the CA Secretary of State has not changed. On that form, I usually underline the appropriate sex, and cross-out the other sex when I meet with an individual. Should notaries now skip that step?

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2019

Hi Len. At this time, the NNA recommends simply leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate as is without crossing out or circling any gender wording. Please see the updated information in the article above. We will update the article with any new information we receive.

Kelli Abatange;p

15 Jan 2019

I understand from the numerous replies back from the NNA that the questions have been forwarded and a reply will be forthcoming regarding filling out the pronoun section if a person has an"x" marked for their sex. Do we still fill this section out if someone's license is marked M or F? Another notary said we don't fill that section out at all for anyone. That doesn't make sense.

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2019

Hello Kelli. At this time, the NNA recommends simply leaving the "he/she/they" section of the certificate as is without crossing out or circling any wording. Please see the updated information in the article above. We will update the article with any new information we receive.

Connie Erickson

16 Jan 2019

I spoke with the Secretary of States office today and was told to not mark he/she/they just make sure you note this in your journal so if anything comes up you have it documented,

Norma laparra

24 Jan 2019

I spoke to a supervisor at the CA SOS and again they verified what the NNA has already recommended. To leave the wording intact on the he/she/they portion of the acknowledgement. It is not uncommon to see this in legal documents. I have been a paralegal for 35 years and I see this all the time. The CA SOS indicated that they would put something on their notary website maybe in the FAQ section soon because they have been receiving many calls on this subject. They also indicated they do not intent to change the acknowledgment this year. They do not know when they will change it . Keep in mind that in recent NNA seminars they have recommended to leave it alone. In the past the wording was left up to the discretion of the notary. However in fear of having a government agency REJECT my acknowledgement (I.e. Deed of Trust) and have repercussions from the rejection, I am going to comply and leave the wording intact.

A. Caro

04 Feb 2019

California Notary here, and if I remember correctly there is no law that states that we need to circle a pronoun on the Ack forms, so leaving them blank for this shouldn't create any problems when filing notarized documents. That being said I would note my journal that I left it blank for an "X' person as I would be prepared should something come of it later.

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