Advocates Enraged at Christie’s Trans Rights Veto
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation Monday that would have lessened the requirements for transgender individuals seeking to obtain an amended birth certificate in what one advocate calls a "vindictive move to punish the LGBT community."
Passed by New Jersey lawmakers last year, the bill would have lifted the requirement that a person must undergo sex-reassignment surgery to obtain an amended birth certificate from the state registrar of vital statistics. Moreover, under the legislation transgender people seeking an amended birth certificate could apply by having their health care provider complete a form indicating that they have "undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards" or demonstrating they have an "intersex condition."
According to the bill itself, its purpose is "to acknowledge that individuals do not necessarily undergo sex reassignment 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."
For Christie, however, who has walked a fine line in his support for LGBT rights, "further consideration" is needed before he is comfortable signing the bill into law.
Noting that a birth certificate is often the prerequisite for other forms of identification, the Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate stated that "proposed measures that revise the standards for the issuance of amended birth certificates may result in significant legal uncertainties and create opportunities for fraud, deception, and abuse, and should therefore be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved."
"Unlike many other states, New Jersey already has an administrative process in place to streamline applications to amend birth certificates for gender purposes without court order," Christie said in a statement announcing his veto. "Under the proposal before me, however, the sponsors seek to alter the amended birth certificate application process without maintaining appropriate safeguards. Consequently, further consideration is necessary to determine whether to make such significant changes to State law concerning the issuance of vital records."