N.J. trans bill back with bipartisan support
by Angela Thomas
Feb 06, 2014 | 1881 views | 0 0 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A bill is back in session in the New Jersey legislature that would make it easier for transgender individuals to make changes to their birth certificates.

Sens. Joseph F. Vitale (D) and Diane B. Allen (R) introduced Senate Bill 1195 on Jan. 30.

The bill would allow New Jersey residents to change the sex on their birth certificates by submitting documentation from a medical professional that they had undergone appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria. Current law requires trans citizens to have sexual-reassignment surgery to change the birth-certificate sex.

The bill was passed in both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly last year, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it last month.

Vitale served as prime sponsor last year with Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D). Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and openly gay Assemblyman Reed Gusciora were prime sponsors of their chamber’s bill; it is not clear if and when they will reintroduce the Assembly version.

Cosponsors have not yet been listed for the reintroduced bill, which was assigned to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Last session, the legislation had one cosponsor, and the Assembly version had five.

In vetoing the legislation, Christie contended it could allow for fraudulent activity.

“New Jersey already has an administrative process in place to streamline applications to amend birth certificates for gender purposes without court order,” Christie said. “Under the proposal before me, the sponsors seek to alter the amended birth-certificate application process without maintaining appropriate safeguards.”

The bill, however, recognized that gender-reassignment surgery is not necessary for a gender transition, stating “the purpose of the bill is to acknow-ledge that individuals do not necessarily undergo sex-assignment surgery when changing sex and to revise the process for obtaining an amended certificate of birth due to a change in sex to reflect current practices.”

A Senate committee hearing or vote on the legislation has not yet been announced.

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