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Gov. Christie veto draws ADL rebuke
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Gov. Christie veto draws ADL rebuke

The Anti-Defamation League criticized Gov. Christ Christie’s veto of a law that would have allowed transgender people to change their birth certificates.

“Current state law requires individuals to provide proof that they have undergone surgery in order to amend their birth certificate, whether or not it is medically necessary. This is not only unfair but creates a roadblock for transgender people trying to obtain accurate identity documents,” said the ADL statement.

The bill, which passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the State Legislature, would have allowed people who wish to change their sexual identities to alter their birth certificates whether or not they have had reconstructive surgery, and if their doctors certify they are undergoing chemical treatments to look more like the opposite sex.

In an Aug. 10 statement explaining his veto, Christie wrote that the bill had “the potential to create legal uncertainties” and that it raised “legitimate and significant concerns” over security.

“Birth certificates unlock access to many of our…critical and protected benefits, such as passports, driver’s licenses, and social services, as well as other important security-dependent allowances,” Christie’s statement said. “Accordingly…efforts to significantly alter State law concerning the issuance of vital records that have the potential to create legal uncertainties should be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved.”

But Joshua Cohen, ADL New Jersey regional director, said in a press release that the veto “is not only unfair but creates a roadblock for transgender people trying to obtain accurate identity documents.” 

“New Jersey’s birth certificate policy remains out of step with federal standards, other states’ requirements, as well as New Jersey’s own driver’s license policy.”

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