Vainieri Huttle, Zwicker & Chiaravalloti Bill to Revise Requirements for Changing a Birth Certificate Due to Gender Reassignment Signed Into Law

Designated as ‘Babs Siperstein Law’

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Andrew Zwicker and Nicholas Chiaravalloti to make it easier for an individual undergoing gender reassignment to obtain an amended birth certificate was signed into law Tuesday.

“This new law acknowledges that individuals do not necessarily undergo gender reassignment surgery when transitioning genders so it revises the process for obtaining an amended birth certificate to reflect the change in current practices,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Essentially we’re updating a standard state procedure to be more inclusive and reflective of our changing society.”

The law (formerly bill A-1718) would revise the requirements for obtaining an amended certificate of birth due to a change in gender.

Specifically, the law stipulates that the state registrar of vital statistics shall issue an amended birth certificate to a person born in New Jersey who submits a request for an amended certificate, which shows the gender and name of the person as it has been changed. The application may be submitted on the person’s behalf by a parent or guardian.

Under previous law, in order to obtain an amended birth certificate, a person must undergo gender reassignment surgery and provide the state registrar with a medical certificate from their physician indicating that their gender has been changed by surgical procedure.

“The complex process of gender transitioning goes far beyond just physical changes,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “This law takes a sensitive approach and updates state practice to acknowledge those complexities.”

The state registrar will issue the amended birth certificate upon receipt of:

1) A certified copy of an order from a court of competent jurisdiction; and
2) A form provided by the state registrar and completed by the person or person’s guardian which affirms the following language: “I, (petitioner’s full name), hereby attest under penalty of perjury that the request for a change in gender to (female, male, or undesignated/non-binary) is to conform my legal gender to my gender identity and is not for any fraudulent purpose.”

“For many reasons, often times financial, not everyone undergoes surgical procedures when they are transitioning,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “This law will recognize an individual as the gender they identify with, regardless of whether they’ve completed expensive surgeries.”

Previous law also required the state registrar to place the original certificate of birth and all papers pertaining to the amended certificate of birth under seal, that was not to be broken except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or upon the request of the person who is the subject of the certificate of birth, or the parent or guardian. The new law permits the seal to be broken upon the request of the person who is the subject of the certificate of birth, or upon the request of the parent or guardian.

Additionally, the law stipulates that in the case of a New Jersey resident who was born in another state or in a foreign jurisdiction, if the other state or jurisdiction requires a court order to amend a birth certificate to reflect a change in gender, a court in this state would have jurisdiction to issue such an order.

The bill was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 57-11-3 on May 25 and the Senate 30-2 on June 7.