NJ Gov. Phil Murphy: Name changes should be free, confidential
In honor of Transgender Awareness Week and acting in support of New Jersey's LGBTQIA+ community, Gov. Phil Murphy has made moves aimed at protecting the privacy of residents who legally change their name.
Under an executive order signed by Murphy on Wednesday, all name change orders filed with the state Department of Treasury after 1948 are exempt from the Open Public Records Act. The department must treat all name change orders as confidential.
"A person's name change can be a critical step in gender transition or affirmation of their gender identity, but many who wish to change their name have legitimate safety and privacy concerns with maintaining legal records of their name change," Murphy said.
In addition to signing the executive order, Murphy declared his support for legislation that waives the $50 fee that currently exists for individuals who secure a name change from the court.
"This legislation will allow us to eliminate a financial barrier that currently stands in the way of New Jersey residents planning to change their names," said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, a sponsor of the measure.
Murphy's order aligns Treasury's practices with that of the Judiciary — the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2021 amended its rules to exclude all name change actions from public access.