Task Force hails passage of New Jersey bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression

December 14, 2006

With governor's signature, New Jersey will become the 9th state with clear and strong transgender protections

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications


One-third of nation’s population will now live in a jurisdiction protecting transgender people from discrimination, up from just 6% five years ago

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 — By a 69-to-5 vote, the New Jersey Assembly voted today to amend the state’s nondiscrimination laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. Last Monday, the Senate approved the companion bill by a 31-to-5 vote. Gov. Corzine is expected to sign the measure into law.

As a result, New Jersey will become the ninth state to extend statutory nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression. With New Jersey’s new law, 34 percent of the nation's population will live in a jurisdiction with a clearly transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law, up from just 6 percent only five years ago. In addition, several states have favorable court or administrative rulings that protect transgender people from discrimination.

“The overwhelming bipartisan margins of support in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature prove this is not a ‘controversial’ issue. Legislators clearly understand that discrimination against transgender people is pervasive and that it is wrong,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It’s time for other states — like New York — to take a similar stand. We salute our partners in New Jersey who have worked hard for this victory, including the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey, Garden State Equality, and many others.”

“The Task Force and the legislative lawyer in its Transgender Civil Rights Project, Lisa Mottet, have been instrumental partners in the success of the transgender nondiscrimination legislation from its genesis in 2004,” said Babs Casbar, political director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey (GRAANJ). “They worked with our allies and prime sponsor to craft a strong bill; provided educational tools to promote the legislation; advised us on several eleventh-hour amendments; and gave us financial support at a crucial moment.”

“The progress in winning nondiscrimination protections for transgender people over the last five years is amazing, but we have still have a long way to go,” said Lisa Mottet, legislative lawyer for the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project. “We need to continue to insist that no one in our community — and that certainly includes transgender people — will have to face discrimination without legal recourse. We look forward to continuing our work with GRAANJ and Garden State Equality to ensure that this new law is implemented and enforced in New Jersey.”

Earlier this year, Washington state passed statewide nondiscrimination protections that included transgender people, and Hawaii extended nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. (View a full list of state and local jurisdictions with transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.)

Public support for protecting transgender people from discrimination is also growing significantly. For example, a 2005 Zogby International poll, commissioned by Garden State Equality, found that 70 percent of likely voters in New Jersey favored the legislation, with only 19 percent opposed.

The Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project provides technical assistance, including evaluation of legislative and policy language, to organizations, advocates, legislators and others who are working to establish or implement policies and laws to create equality for transgender people.

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.