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The New Jersey state assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would make the Garden State the eighth in the nation to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The bill, passed by the state senate on Monday, now goes to Gov. Jon Corzine, who is expected to sign it.
"The legislation in New Jersey represents a huge civil rights victory for transgender communities," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. "I applaud the amazing efforts of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey, Garden State Equality, and local advocates who showed that when we stand up for what's right, we can win. While we celebrate that one third of the U.S. population is now covered, NCTE continues to fight for explicitly transgender-inclusive protections on the federal level."
New Jersey's new law prohibits discriminatory practices in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on "gender identity or expression"--the legislative language that covers transgender people. Once signed, the state will join California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Rhode Island in legislating statewide transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. These state-level laws, in addition similar transgender-inclusive protections in the District of Columbia and in over 80 cities and counties, now protect one third of the U.S. population based on gender identity or expression. (The Advocate)