Monday, January 13, 2014

Christie Vetoes Trans Bill

Governor Chris Christie is once again in the spotlight over a controversial veto…


While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) navigates scandals about blocked bridges and misused hurricane-relief funds, he’s continuing to conduct business as usual, and on Monday that included vetoing a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to obtain amended birth certificates. Assembly Bill 4097, passed by the legislature in recent months, would allow trans people to change their gender identification without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Not all trans people elect to have such surgery, especially because it means sacrificing reproductive ability, and others face financial hurdles in order to obtain it. Under A4097, a health care provider could confirm that an individual was transitioning and that alone would allow them to update all of their documentation. According to Christie’s veto statement, the bill doesn’t maintain “appropriate safeguards”:

A birth certificate is an important legal document. In many instances, the production of a birth certificate is a prerequisite to obtaining other critical identification documents that factor into decisions concerning employment, financial services, education, and travel. Birth certificates are often required to complete myriad security-related tasks. Accordingly, 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.

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