WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement after media reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “laughed on Thursday about his recent veto of legislation that would have streamlined the process in his state for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.” Christie made his comments on a right-wing radio talk show. On the show, Christie defended the veto by saying, “certain things go beyond the pale.”
“It was bad enough that Governor Christie vetoed this bill. Now he has added insult to injury by demeaning the entire transgender community,” said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “What’s really beyond the pale is that a sitting governor, much less a candidate for the presidency, would use such offensive and harmful rhetoric in 2015. Chris Christie should immediately apologize.”
This week marks the second time in two years that Gov. Christie has shamefully vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for transgender residents to obtain an appropriate birth certificate reflecting their identity. The bill he vetoed (S1195) would have allowed state agencies to change a birth certificate as long as proof was provided that the individual was undergoing gender transition. Currently, transgender New Jerseyans can only obtain an updated birth certificate if they have undergone gender reassignment surgery, which is not always necessary or safe and can be cost-prohibitive for low-income people. This year, states like Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maryland have updated their laws to remove these barriers for transgender people. Nationally, only 1 in 5 transgender people (21%) have been able to update all their identification documents and records, including birth certificates, to reflect their appropriate name and gender.