Gov. Chris Christie Vetoes Important Pro-LGBT Surrogacy Bill

by Stephen Peters

TRENTON, NJ – Last night, on the day before announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Governor Chris Christie shamefully vetoed important bipartisan legislation passed by the New Jersey Legislature – the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act – that would have modernized New Jersey law by giving legal parental rights of a child carried by a gestational surrogate to the intended parent at birth. Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, decried Governor Christie’s veto of this important legislation impacting LGBT people and their families.

"This veto is a terrible outcome for families across New Jersey who need gestational surrogacy agreements to strengthen their families,” said Andrea Bowen, Executive Director for Garden State Equality. “We deplore what Governor Christie has done.”

“Instead of modernizing New Jersey’s surrogacy laws by signing this important bipartisan legislation into law, Gov. Christie chose to stand in the way of progress,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director. “Garden State families deserve better than the outdated obstacles that will now remain in place because of Gov. Christie – outdated laws that restrict their ability to establish appropriate parental and family rights. What a backwards way to start a campaign for the highest office in the land.”

Passed by both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature, the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act would have authorized gestational carrier agreements under New Jersey law, providing a legal framework for gestational surrogacy in New Jersey. Gestational surrogacy is especially important to members of the LGBT community because it enables couples to establish parental rights and create a family while allowing such couples to have a genetic relation to their children. Gestational surrogacy is distinguished from traditional surrogacy, in which the carrier makes use of her own egg and therefore has a genetic relation to the child.

Over the past several years, gestational surrogacy has substantially increased as an option for family creation, and it is vital that states provide a system to govern this process. If signed into law, New Jersey would have joined 14 states which currently have laws that allow for gestational surrogacy agreements. The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act would have modernized New Jersey law and standardized a necessary government function in a simple way that is consumer friendly, safe, and professional. Governor Christie also previously vetoed similar legislation in 2012.

HRC submitted written testimony on the importance of this bill and will continue to work with Garden State Equality to eventually update New Jersey’s outdated laws in this important area.

Garden State Equality is New Jersey's statewide civil rights education and advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. It led the state's efforts toward marriage equality, the nation's strongest anti-bullying law, a ban on conversion therapy for minors, and continues to ensure that LGBT people in New Jersey are truly living equality.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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