Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill requiring New Jersey schools use the preferred pronouns of transgender students, according to a Saturday report.
The legislation (S3067/A4652) compels New Jersey to mandate that state schools call transgender students by their preferred pronouns and prohibits them from making transgender students use bathrooms opposing their gender identity, according to NJ.com.
“This is a huge victory for equality in New Jersey, and we want to send a big thank you to Gov. Christie for standing on the right side of history on this one,” Garden State Equality, a civil rights organization, said Friday in a statement.
Transgender students will be “addressed at school by the name and pronoun preferred by the student that corresponds to the student’s gender identity, regardless of whether a legal name change or change in official school records has occurred,” says the law.
Furthermore, New Jersey schools cannot force “a transgender student to use a restroom or locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity, and [must provide] reasonable alternative arrangements if needed to ensure a student’s safety and comfort.”
New Jersey’s Democratic-majority legislature passed the bill in June by a 59-15-3 vote in the state assembly and a 25-10 senate vote prior to Christie’s Friday signing.
“All of our children deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” said Democratic State Sen. Teresa Ruiz, a sponsor of the bill, to NJ.com. “And that means having the regulatory framework in place to be sure that our schools are safe places and have supportive environments for all students.”
“If we cultivate intolerance, children will pick up on that and think it is OK to bully others who are deemed different,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, another sponsor.
While New Jersey amended its Law Against Discrimination in 2006 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, it did not contain specific provisions pertaining to pronouns and bathrooms.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Christie for comment, but received none in time for publication.
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