TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following statement on legislation that would revise procedures for individuals who have changed their sex and name to receive an amended birth certificate. The bill, S-1195, sponsored by Senator Vitale and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, was vetoed by the Governor in August after it passed the Senate with a vote of 29-7 and the Assembly with a vote of 51-23.
“Today’s unsuccessful override attempt is a disappointment and a setback to the progress we have made for LGBTQ rights in New Jersey and in the nation.
“It’s not an easy decision to make a public proclamation about one’s change in gender, and it is unfortunate because the difficulty lies within others’ discomfort and discrimination.
“Under current New Jersey law, for individuals to amend their sex on their birth certificate, they must have undergone sexual reassignment surgery, which is extremely costly not to mention high risk. With advancements in modern medicine, we know that gender reassignment surgery is no longer the only option for transitioning yet the law takes a one-size-fits-all approach.
“This bill would have removed the barriers that transgender New Jerseyans face when requesting changes to such an important and personal identification document as their birth certificate to reflect who they are. It’s important to remember that this is their birth certificate, their identification, not the state’s.
“This is policy that is recommended by the American Medical Association for its ethical fairness. The law in New York and Connecticut allows transgender applicants to change the gender marker on their birth certificate.
“New Jersey law must afford transgendered individuals the same rights and protections as all citizens to have official identification documents that accurately reflect their gender and do not conflict with reality.”