A group of Democratic lawmakers are pushing a measure intending to make the U.S. more “gender neutral” by removing “gender-specific language.”
Reps. Summer Lee (D-PA), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Robert Garcia (D-CA) introduced the measure, according to a press release.
“At a time where gender equality has yet to be enshrined and recognized in our constitution, it is crucial we take every step necessary to codify dignity, humanity, and equality for all in our laws – and that includes the language we use. We must be intentional about including women and LGBTQ+ folks in our country’s legal code,” Pressley said in her press release.
“I am proud to introduce the Equality in Our Laws Act with Representatives Lee and Garcia to help address the systemic discrimination in our country,” she added.
The language we use in our legal code matters, and using gender-neutral language helps address the systemic discrimination in our country.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) July 25, 2023
Lee said that it is “unacceptable” for the U.S. code to allow language that is discriminatory toward specific genders.
In Pressley’s press release, Lee indicates that language such as the pronoun “he” could be swapped for “the Secretary” when speaking about a leader of a federal agency.
The measure “would enshrine gender equity in the US legal code by replacing masculine generics with gender-neutral language,” the press release states.
The press release also states that the measure would modify the U.S. code, making it more “inclusive” towards members of the LGBT community.
The measure would also “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 Google Form document.
The Google Form document indicates that 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.”
The measure wouldn’t remove all “gender-specific language.” It would, for example, retain language relating to laws concerning 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,” the Google Form document states.
“OLRC would be prohibited from amending any portion of the Code where gender affects the substance, meaning, or interpretation of the federal law,” it adds.