GSE lauds three bills passed and awaiting the governor’s signature

Christian Fuscarino, of Garden State Equality at the NJ State House last week
Christian Fuscarino, of Garden State Equality at the NJ State House last week

New Jersey State Senators Joseph Vitale and Teresa Ruiz got legislation passed last week that prohibits health insurers in New Jersey from discriminating against transgender people by denying coverage for transition-related care. The bill also passed the State Assembly.

“While we will still need to fight to ensure that self-funded plans, including municipal and county health plans, stop discriminating, transgender people will remain covered or gain coverage for transition-related care in much of the marketplace,” said Garden State Equality in a statement. The remaining stumbling block is Gov. Chris Christie who has not yet indicated whether he will sign the bill into law.

Another LGBT-related bill also passed both houses and awaits the governor’s signature. It will require the Commissioner of Education in New Jersey to develop guidelines for school districts regarding transgender students. If signed by Gov. Christie, New Jersey will join California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in promulgating guidance at the state level. “This guidance will be extremely beneficial to school districts in helping them to develop a policy and plan for transgender, transitioning, and gender-creative youth and their families,” said GSE in a statement.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination already mandates that access to sex-segregated facilities is determined on the basis of gender identity, not sex assigned at birth. This is true in all places of public accommodation in New Jersey, including public schools, stressed GSE in its statement.

New Jersey State Assemblyman John Wisniewski’s bill to bring “Equality” license plates to New Jersey passed the assembly last Thursday. “Equality license plates will help raise awareness and allocate important funding to some educational programs,” said GSE. “We think it’s just a fantastic bill to pass during Pride month.”