Metro Weekly

Chris Christie vetoes pro-LGBT gestational carrier bill

Fate of surrogacy bill may have implications for bill allowing transgender people to change their birth certificates

Photo: Chris Christie. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.
Photo: Chris Christie. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Transgender advocates in New Jersey may be biting their nails after Gov. Chris Christie (R) issued a veto of a pro-LGBT surrogacy bill on Monday, June 30th.

Christie, who announced his candidacy for president on Tuesday, vetoed a bill known as the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act. The bill would have spelled out the legal parental rights of the biological parents of a child brought to term by a gestational surrogate, in which a pregnant woman carries a child to term but has no genetic relation to that child. Although gestational surrogacy is not exclusively practiced by LGBT couples, many have opted for it because it allows same-sex couples to have their own biological children.

“This veto is a terrible outcome for families across New Jersey who need gestational surrogacy agreements to strengthen their families,” said Andrea Bowen, executive director for Garden State Equality. “We deplore what Governor Christie has done.”

For members of the transgender community, the veto could indicate an unwillingness by Christie to embrace another bill they view as important. That bill eliminates the surgical requirement for people seeking to change their gender marker on their birth certificate. Like the surrogacy bill, the birth certificate bill passed the New Jersey Legislature with significant bipartisan support. But New Jersey Republican lawmakers have been unwilling to buck a governor of their own party to help override a potential veto on other bipartisan-backed bills.

“We’ve talked with people in his office about how the law makes sense, how it actually strengthens the consistency of the law, bringing it in line with state and federal standards, and bringing it in line with New Jersey driver’s license standards,” Bowen said. “I’m hoping he finds that a compelling argument.”

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