Gov. Christie First Term Report CardLGBT RightsD

The Campaign Against Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Rights

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Gov. Christie vetoed marriage equality legislation in 2012, and continued fighting against marriage equality in court even as his odds of victory diminished.39 After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Gov. Christie continued to insist that New Jersey civil unions were equal to marriages. He finally dropped his legal defense of New Jersey’s unequal system in Garden State Equality v. Dow in 2013 when the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously and unequivocally said that the state would likely lose the challenge to its unconstitutional system.40

In January 2014, Gov. Christie struck a blow to the dignity of transgender New Jerseyans by vetoing a bill (A4097) that modernized the standards for amending birth certificates to reflect one’s true gender. The legislation would have allowed people who have undergone clinically appropriate treatment for gender transition to amend the gender marker on their birth certificate with an affidavit from a medical doctor. The law currently requires people to prove that they have undergone surgery, which could be dangerous, inappropriate, or unaffordable for certain patients. Instead of respecting contemporary medical standards and the needs of the transgender community, Gov. Christie compelled New Jersey to cling to an outdated and onerous birth certificate procedure.41

The Campaign Against Bullying

Gov. Christie’s expression of grief at the tragic death of bullied gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, as noted in the previous report card, showed his compassion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.42 He also quickly condemned the actions of former Rutgers University Basketball Coach Mike Rice, who bullied players using homophobic slurs.43

Gov. Christie signed one of the strongest anti-bullying laws (A3466) in the country, which gives LGBT students strong defenses and options for recourse in the face of in-school harassment.44 And although the ACLU-NJ has other concerns about how the anti-conversion therapy law might be implemented, Gov. Christie’s signature of the bill (A3371), which prohibits licensed therapists from giving discredited and harmful gay-to-straight therapy to minors, showed his empathy for young LGBT New Jerseyans.45

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Related Content

39 Zernike, Kate, “Christie keeps his promise to veto marriage bill,” New York Times, Feb. 27, 2012,

40 Zernike, Kate, and Santora, Marc, “As gays wed in New Jersey, Christie ends court fight,” New York Times, Oct. 21, 2013,

41 Livio, Susan K., “Chris Christie vetoes bill allowing transgender people to get new birth certificates,” The Star-Ledger, Jan. 13, 2014,

42 Friedman, Matt, “Gov. Christie calls Tyler Clementi’s suicide an ‘unspeakable tragedy,’” The Star-Ledger, Sept. 30, 2010,

43 McCarthy, Tom, “Chris Christie: Rutgers college basketball coach Mike Rice ‘an animal,’” The Guardian, April 9, 2013,

44 Perez-Pena, Richard, “Christie signs tougher law on bullying in schools,” New York Times, Jan. 6, 2011,

45 Susman, Tina, “Chris Christie signs N.J. bill banning gay conversion therapy,” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19, 2013,

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