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Senator Vitale

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would revise procedures for individuals who have changed their sex and name to receive an amended birth certificate was approved today by the Senate.

“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. “Many transgender people living in New Jersey elect not to have gender reassignment surgery because it is cost prohibitive and carries great risks, and instead undergo nonsurgical therapies during the process of transitioning. This legislation allows them to change an important identification document to reflect the changes they have made without the requirement of having surgery.”

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-1195, would alter the procedure to have an individual’s birth certificate changed.

“The state should not be holding transgendered individuals back from fully realizing the personal changes that they have made, and our law needs to recognize current practices for sex changes that don’t require surgery,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “A birth certificate is an important identification document needed for a range of purposes, including applying for a driver’s license or passport and registering for school. New Jersey’s transgendered population deserves to live with the same rights and protections that all citizens enjoy, including having official identification documents that accurately reflect their gender.”

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. It would also allow for parents or guardians of minors to submit an application on their behalf.

The bill also provides that a court in New Jersey would have jurisdiction to issue an order to amend a birth certificate of a New Jersey resident who was born in another state or foreign jurisdiction if that other state or jurisdiction requires a court order for the change.

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 29-7 and now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

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