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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 17 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 03
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie picks another fight, vetoes Transgender ID bill
Section One
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie picks another fight, vetoes Transgender ID bill

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill to allow Transgender residents of his state to update the gender marker on their birth certificates to match their actual gender identity.

Under exiting New Jersey law, Trans people must complete gender reassignment surgery before they can apply for an accurate birth certificate. The bill to ease this restriction on access to ID passed the New Jersey Senate in late December by a vote of 21-11. The Assembly had approved the bill last June by a vote of 43-27.

The measure, named S2786, would have mandated a new birth record for people who have undergone 'clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards.'

Garden State Equality Executive Director Troy Stevenson said in a statement that only about 30% of Trans people have full reassignment surgery.

'A person's gender identity is about who they are, not what their body looks like,' he said.

'This bill would have brought New Jersey in line with federal regulations. Now you will have birth certificates that don't match driver's licenses and passports. In many cases people are being called out on fraud because their documents don't match.'

'It was very vindictive,' Stevenson added. 'It had not been a controversial piece of legislation. Just because it had the word transgender in it, he didn't want to sign it.'

Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, also blasted Christie for vetoing the bill saying there 'is simply no justification' for refusing to sign it.

'New Jersey's onerous surgery requirement is out-of-step with contemporary standards for transgender health care and imposes a hurdle that many cannot and should not have to meet simply to have identity documents that reflect who they are,' Levasseur said.

Christie issued a statement claiming that he wanted more time to think about 'safeguards.'

'The sponsors seek to alter the amended birth certificate application process without maintaining appropriate safeguards,' he stated. 'Consequently, further consideration is necessary to determine whether to make such significant changes to state law concerning the issuance of vital records.'

A two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature will be necessary to override Christie's veto and allow the measure to become law.

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