New Law Will Protect Transgendered Individuals

On December 19, 2006, Governor Jon Corzine signed a bill (S. 362) that amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) by adding “gender identity or expression” to the list of protected characteristics. “The [NJLAD] is one of the most powerful tools we have in government to protect our citizens,” said Governor Corzine. “I am pleased to sign legislation to ensure gender identity or expression is a protected class against discrimination in New Jersey.”

When the new law takes effect, 180 days after the Governor signed the bill, it will be unlawful to discriminate in employment, housing, public accommodations, contracts, lending and union membership against people “having or being perceived as having a gender-related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth.”

S. 362 was sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Joseph Vitale, and Assemblymembers Reed Gusciora, John McKeon, Bonnie Watson Cole-man, and Joseph Vas. In a published statement, Senator Karcher (D) noted, “We cannot stand by as a segment of the population is held back because of a narrow world view and prejudice against those who hold a different gender identity than what some may perceive as `normal’.”

Note: This article was published in the Dec/Jan 2007 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

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