Vitale-Weinberg Bill to Ease Changes in Birth Certificates for Transgender New Jerseyans Approved by Senate

From left to right: Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, watch as vote tallies come in on the Senate floor.

Legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Joseph F. Vitale and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would allow individuals who have changed their sex and name to receive an amended birth certificate was approved today by the full Senate, and now heads to the Governor.

“Gender reassignment surgery is not always the right option for those who have changed their gender to reflect who they are mentally, spiritually and in every way other than physically,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Not only is surgery often cost prohibitive since it’s not always covered under health insurance plans, but there are great risks associated with the surgery. Many transgender people living in the state elect not to have gender reassignment surgery, but rather undergo nonsurgical therapies during the process of transitioning.  Under current law, we do not allow these individuals to change an important and personal identification document to reflect the changes that they have personally made.”

Currently, for a person to amend the sex on their birth certificate, they must have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Understanding that not all individuals undergo this costly and dangerous surgery to change their sex, the bill, S-2786/ A-4097, would alter the procedure to have an individual’s birth certificate changed.

“It is important that transgender people have the ability to support their identity in all ways, including official documents,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen.  “They should be free to live with all the rights and protections that all citizens enjoy.”

The bill would require the state registrar of vital statistics to issue an amended birth certificate to a person born in the state who requests the certificate to show the sex and name of the person has been changed. In order to process this request, the registrar would need a receipt of a name change approved by the court and a form from the person’s licensed health care provider which indicates that the person has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards or that the person has an intersex condition.

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 21-11.  It was approved by the General Assembly in June with a vote of 43-27-7. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.