Archives for February 2016

NJ Governor Vetos Bill to Amend Birth Certificates for Transgendered Individuals

In August of 2015 Governor Christie vetoed a Bill which had passed the New Jersey House and Senate that would have allowed individuals to obtain an amended birth certificate due to a change in sex. Under the current law, in order to obtain an amended birth certificate an individual must have undergone sex reassignment surgery. The amendment to the Bill would have allowed the birth certificate to be amended if the person requesting it could submit documentation from a licensed health care professional showing that the person had undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition based on contemporary medical standards. The legislature in passing the Bill recognized that some transgendered individuals may not be able to afford reassignment surgery or that their plans do not include such surgery but they still live each day as the gender with which they identify. Without this amendment the result would be that these individuals would have government documents and all identification cards indicating their gender which is not consistent with who they are. This means that if an individual is transgendered it would necessarily be disclosed to that person’s employer, schools, or any other organization or individual requiring these forms of identification. The concern is that this could lead to further discrimination.

Currently New York and Hawaii have passed such Bills. Although this amendment was supported by the New Jersey State Bar Association and passed by the New Jersey House and Senate, it was vetoed by the Governor. This likely will be introduced again at the next legislative session or when a new Governor is elected.

Expansion of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

The Statue of Liberty
In 2000 the Child Citizenship Act was passed which granted automatic US citizenship to children who were adopted abroad. Unfortunately the Act did not apply retroactively and therefore children who were already 18 when the Act went into effect would not obtain automatic US citizenship. This had many negative effects and as such Senators Jeff Merkley (D-RN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have co-sponsored an amendment to the Child Citizenship Act to grant such automatic US citizenship retroactively.