Several left-wing lawmakers are pushing a measure meant to make the U.S. law more gender neutral by removing some gender-specific language.
Democratic Reps. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Robert Garcia of California introduced the measure, according to press releases.
“In 2023 it is unacceptable that the U.S. code perpetuates sexist social structures and reinforces gender stereotypes and social discrimination,” Lee said, according to her press release. “The Equality in Our Laws Act will enshrine gender equality into the U.S. Code and send a clear message that we won’t be silenced by the right wing politicians, judges, and media goons waging a full-on assault on women and queer folks.”
The press releases indicate that, as an example, language such as the pronoun “he” could be swapped out for “the Secretary” in the context of the leader of a federal agency.
The measure “would enshrine gender equity in the US legal code by replacing masculine generics with gender neutral language. Additionally, this key change would make the U.S. Code more inclusive to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially gender- nonconforming, nonbinary, and intersex individuals,” Rep. Lee’s press release states.
The measure would “authorize/direct the Office of Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) to make non-substantive, gender-neutral revisions to the non-positive law portions of the Code,” according to a one-pager about the measure that also indicates the legislation would “Direct OLRC to prepare a draft bill that makes non-substantive, gender-neutral revisions to the positive law portions of the Code.”
Some gender-specific language would be permitted to remain, such as for laws that specifically pertain to women.
“Some laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the statute establishing the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, use gender specific language to create rights and protections. OLRC would be prohibited from amending any portion of the Code where gender affects the substance, meaning or interpretation of the federal law,” the one-pager states.
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